My mother suffered many years with dementia, triggered & accelerated through loneliness when my father died. Having endured so much in life, survived the Spanish Civil War, married the man she loved and settled in England to raise a loving family I gradually witnessed my proud mother withdraw into herself, lose her sense of "self", all her skills, self-respect & dignity, but also hope and joy as she disconnected from life.
Slowly she forgot our names but what hurt most is that she forgot my father to whom she was happily married for 56 years, became confused that my brother, my wife and I who cared for her for many years were her family and missed out on the joy seeing her grandchildren grow up and being enriched by them. Personally I missed her smile, laughter and loving embrace.
I have been moved by her vulnerability. The need to care for her as dutiful sons has been not only an honour, but also humbling and an important lesson in love too.
Following my early retirement I have brought forward a life-long plan to walk what is known as The Camino de Santiago, which is a historical Pilgrimage route across northern Spain. I am starting from St Jean Pied de Port in France, will walk over Pyrenees and then backpack 500 miles to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia - where the apostle James (Santiago) is said to be buried. If you know me you will understand how ludicrous the words "Tony" and "exercise" are in the same sentence!!
This endeavour start 1st May 2015 will take me over 45 days but I will get there and in so doing I would like to help raise some funds for Alzheimer’s in memory my mother.