It has been exactly a year since my Fathers funeral and exactly 7 month since I bought a narrowboat. He died April 17th 2020 and the whole care giving journey felt like a push for normalcy and the need to just continue at all costs, make the most of it. But when all that stops that energy and love that sustained you has to go elsewhere, you can’t just stop a fast moving train like that. So my energy turned to focus on my new life priorities and push forward with those instead.
Not a single thing in my life is the same as it was a year go, and I believe I am better person for it. Not having my Father in my life feels like I have gained more headroom, but not going to lie, I have just filled that with narrowboating hahah.
I like to write here on dates that have meaning, I have always like how the numbers of dates line up, and I knew even before 2020 began it was going to be a big year, and the numbers 2020 just go together so well, you know what I mean! I didn’t have words to say anything on the anniversary of his death, and I am not sure I have much to say now but I want to keep this as a place I pop my honest thoughts through life, even if its just for me to look back at in years to come and smile.
So Narrowboating, it’s something I am going to be speaking a lot about from now on, doesn’t mean the ideas and thoughts around dementia are going to be leaving me, and be even less of an importance to me. But it will feel like things are changing, because they are.
Relating this back to (social)media, one of the things I have noticed is when I follow other peoples journeys online with Dementia, once their loved one passes, that’s it, it stops. And even now I am little bit amazed that I and other people can speak so openly about it, as the emotions of it all are still only settling from the 5 year rollercoaster journey I had taken. Quite honestly I understand why people don’t talk about it, don’t seek out stories around it, and following other peoples journeys can be so short-lived.
But my journey has taken on a whole new level as I move my house around the canal network, figure out how to renovate the boat, maintain it and enjoy the time I have now.
I wish I could tell you what my Dad would of thought about me having a boat, but I really don’t remember a lot of what he was like before the Dementia, my memory is so bad and with his other mental illnesses, it wasn’t your typical cute father daughter relationship. When I was a child, we would go to Ellesmere Port a lot as that’s where his mum lived, and she also had Dementia. I found myself moored there for a few days recently, it has the narrowboat museum and the town centre that I was seeing in a whole new way. Driving to try and find my way to the big supermarket in town, I had a moment where I thought ‘oh I should ask my dad about the best ways to move around town, and what it was like back then.’ Such an honest, normal thought for anyone to have, and I just forgot for a second the whole bloody thing, like my Dad was healthy and I could ask those questions, and its moments like that where I grieve for what I have lost, and pity my mindless innocence and the effect it will have for me when reality hits home. It hurts just to think about it, but that’s grieve and it will sit with me for the rest of my life no doubt, just be settled in different ways as I grow.
So here is me giving myself permission to pass on the baton from recording my life and its travails with Dementia, to what it looks like now. With my puppy, my independence and my 40 year old narrowboat home called Florrie, and the journeys we will have into the future.