What could be better than being picked, along with some really fabulous writers, to contribute to an anthology? Only one thing. To be picked for an anthology that is going to raise oodles of boodle for a cause that is very close to my heart, dementia.
My own mother didn’t live long enough to go into genuine Alzheimers but after several strokes she exhibited many signs of dementia, part of her brain having died-off. That was bad enough, seeing a highly-educated woman turning into a stumbling, mumbling wreck who couldn’t even form coherent demands for things she wanted. Just “crisp sandwich” became a frustrating effort of pantomime, telepathy and tantrums. “Cup of tea” we worked out very early on with a mime of a cup and then a hand signal of T or C indicating tea or coffee. Fortunately, at the best of times, her sense of humour broke through and she would pronounce a swearword perfectly clearly, causing us both to break into fits of giggles.
I was to see the worst of full-blown Alzheimers in the husband of a client of mine, a sweet lady who came to me for English lessons because her son had married an American so she wanted to be able to surprise her daughter in law with some welcoming expressions and conversation. Yes, that’s the kind of nice lady I mean. She and her husband were not just partners in a marriage. They had run the local garage together for over 30 years so they were a team. That was until he was diagnosed and from then he went downhill very rapidly.
She continued to come to me but we forgot the English lessons and I just listened, hugged her and tried to give her some strength. Under no circumstances did she want to put her husband in a “home”. For the sake of the marriage they’d had and the man he’d been, she stayed loyal to the point of self-destruction.
When he got to the stage of defecating on the floor, blaming it on her and then turning violent, the medics stepped in and gave her no choice. She was devastated. Her brave, loyal heart was broken because she had shut him away. No matter how often I tried to explain to her that the lovely man she married actually died some time ago and she should remember him as he was, not that horrible stranger who came to live there in his place; she was inconsolable.
So that’s why I was more than eager to contribute a short story for this fabulous effort which you can read about HERE along with a list of the other authors who have given of their time and work so generously for a good cause.
I’ll be around the streets with my megaphone advertising when the anthology is for sale because I’d like everyone to buy one…it’s the only way you’ll get to see what I wrote!