What are your thoughts on the #SharetheOrange campaign with Alzheimer’s Research UK launched today? As a person passionate about raising awareness and sharing my experience let me put my 2 pence worth in.
If you only read this one point – Its time to take Dementia seriously and give a chance to be able to cure it.
As I work in advertising (kinda) I will normally always have an opinion on the latest campaigns, and I remember the previous 2016 one with the same analogy. I remember thinking then this is a serious issue I didn’t know a lot about and how sad it must be, and look at me now!
Some would say sharing something on social media is the best way to get a message out there. Think of videos going viral, and watching or liking things because you trust your friend’s tastes, and the number of touch points a post has means it more likely to be shown to you, therefore, click on it but I digress.
I think this campaign is well needed, it’s soft and easy to engage with. I have no stats behind what I am saying, but when you share something that’s feel good or for charity, it has a knock on effect for you too, so why not play on the positive reaction in order to get such an important the message out.
It’s 24- 35 years old being the demographic that uses social media the most, and they are the people that need this message the most, it’s coming for us guys, we need to help make a change! And while I feel this is a soft campaign, I think it has to be for a mainstream audience, and for that reason it certainly doesn’t go far enough.
I 100% stand by this campaign and fully support it, but I guess I am coming from seeing the disease in a harsher place, and can’t wait for people to start seeing it in its true reality and taking it more seriously.
There are some big battles out there to fight in regard to dementia, and this is a welcome introduction to the masses to acknowledge the misconceptions and get on board. We need to change our way of thinking about it and then take action on it.
I haven’t even gone into the facts here like the whole reason they use an orange is that a person living with Alzheimer’s brain has shrunk THAT MUCH. Is that not crazy! I am going to link below a few other resources I would highly recommend checking out if you really want to know the impact the disease has and why we need to find a cure or any way to help asap.
I would love to know your thoughts on this Share the Orange campaign from whatever your viewpoint. I have no doubt my viewpoint must be completely different to that of one of my friends who hasn’t had much interaction with the concept of dementia and its impacts. Please comment down below, tell me what you think and let’s get the conversation going!
It rolls around every year but is still so important to support International Women’s day with #PressforProgress. And I thought to myself, who are the most inspirational women I personally know? So I thought I would share with you 3 of these lovely ladies, and why I think so much of them.
I, of course, speak so much about my Father, but not quite my Mother (or Mam, she just hates the word Mother so of course I use it more ;)) I also know she doesn’t read my blog either, so this will make what I say easier and less embarrassing.
I am not a mushy person and will keep this short and sweet. My mother is a very independent, headstrong and caring women who I think has one of the hardest jobs in the world of being a carer. She has effectively brought up 3 children while paying the mortgage by herself and is constantly selfless and looking to help where she can (even when it’s not needed sometimes). She has passed on all her traits, including being brutally honest and the world needs more Godly women like this.
Another woman who shot straight to my mind is a little more of a strange one. Her name is Rosie and my Father and I would go on long drives to Scotland and always made sure to stay and spend time with her; More often than not Scotland was just a fun add-on. She has such an amazing life story, faith and heart for the Lord and the real-life stories she has to tell are almost unbelievable! What the Lord has done in her life and the people around her is truly awe-inspiring and shines a light right back to the very personal relationship she has with Jesus. But don’t get me wrong, she not a global head of a business or anything like that, just an ordinary woman which makes it all the more beautiful. She has a book out called ‘The Pathway of Faith’ which I thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend so please check this out and considering buying a copy.
And last but by no mean least, is one of my oldest friends Menekse. I wonder how long it will take her to see this lol. We have been the closest friends for such a long time even though we have always lived on the opposite side of the country. There is definitely a theme of headstrong women here but her perseverance and drive is relentless, the goal is unshakeable and everything she does is done to perfection. Her journey as a person has been a privilege to be part of and she has only accomplished the tiniest amount of the amazingness that is coming her way. The Cheerfully Given community would agree with me here and I would highly recommend checking out whats going on over there, she is unstoppable!
So I hope you enjoyed that little insight, and now I have a half day off at work and going to surround myself with even more inspirational women with events at the Alzheimer’s Society and Monzo! How exciting and Happy International Women’s day everyone!
Its a been a busy old start to the year in my January and February so let me break all the adventures down I have had for you lovely nosey people (and my future self!)
Elliot’s sister lives in Bristol and I have never had a good look around other than going to see my Dads family friend when I was a child.
We went to a cider festival on a farm, walked around town as well as going to the amazing wildlife photographer of the year exhibition. Alongside that, as well as lots of good food and chilling, I got the chance to swing by my Fathers very good friends who live in Bristol and it was lovely to see them. They have always seen a different side to my Father that I never hear from anyone else, and they always see the best in people. Even seeing them for such a short time it was such a blessing!
– Lumiere festival
As you can tell already I loved this festival, I still only got to go around half of it (boo!) but got to see some amazing stuff so FOMO can do one!
I mean check this out!
– January Dad visit printing photos
I would love to see my Dad more than once a month, but that’s how the cookie crumbles and I make the most of it. This time round Elliot drove us down and we went to the phone shop to get some important admin out the way.
My Dad knows everyone in the phone shop by now and he goes in on a regular basis for one query or another, and this time I needed to come and sort out the bigger mess that was his phone not being on the right contract (Vodaphones fault, lets not go there with the trouble I have had hey!) I have tried to find the time to kinda say, or even mouth the fact he has Alzheimer’s, but I have to just assume they know from him coming in so much! And of course, I cant just come out with it either!
I also took the time to go to Boots and the little photo counters we used to go to all the time and finally show him and print some of the amazing photos Lottie did for me. I did record it all but maybe one day I will make it into a vlog as promised. LOL.
Keep your eyes peeled for lots of sneaky peaks on social media though, I caught so many lovely moments I would have never seen unless I had set the camera up!
One of my dearest, longest friends (time and height wise might I add) celebrated his 30th so I seriously couldn’t miss it! Classic night out – standard. Classic crash on his couch, with the usual faces – standard. The next day buying a coat and having a rather splendid walk-of-shame day out in Chester, not so standard and rather delightful!
Just after my Father diagnosis, I went up north every weekend, on the whole, to make sure he got to church. I think routine is so important and he was in no fit state to leave by himself and no one else would have been able to do it for him. As much as he said he would like to go in the evening rather than morning, it’s not possible when I need to go to work in London the next day. And our usual day would be a maccies breakfast, church and then a walk through the park and waterfront for an icecream, then ‘home’.
This time around I did something similar showing Elliot the sights, walking along the wall, definitely having a maccies, just sadly no ice cream this time. But still a rather nice surprise of a day out that I didn’t count on, and a new favourite Primark (I know I know, I literally never go in!) coat I always wear.
– Lots of tv shows
If there is something that February had been full of is a lot of me being in the auidence for different TV shows. Graham Norton which was great, and finally got in despite trying for a shameful amount of time/years, but it was great fun, and it was the last show they filmed in the ITV studios on the waterfront. It had been filmed there for 20 years in one form or the other so it felt like a good show to be on, the crew and Graham even got a bit emotional!
Then we have good old Blind Date with Paul OGrady. Now don’t get me wrong we all loved the old school blind date, and Cilla Black made it (also felt kinda sad she wasn’t doing it R.I.P Cilla), but Paul did bring his own northern magic and charm (even if it was full of dirty innuendos and references that only the over 50’s would get!)
I also still stick by people from the North West, in particular, Liverpool and the Wirral having a certain look. If you were to give me a line up I feel I could tell them apart. Also striking is the comparison to Paul and my Father, basically the same age. I would go as far as to say there is certain mannerism too for that age/generation that did remind me a lot of Dad, which definitely felt strange but very homely, in the most surprising way possible.
– Kew Gardens
So what do you do for your other half when it comes to presents, get them something you would like too! Am I right?! So we went to Kew Gardens. We went along with 2 very good friends Sophie and Dwyane and it turned into a bit of a couples photo session in some place but I would highly recommend. So much, in fact, I want to go back in early March to catch the exhibition I didn’t get to see!
– Feb Dad visit
Just to top off the month of Feb, I went down on the train to visit the old man. This time I tried something a little different and when we went out for our walk, I put a microphone on his coat which of course completely forgot about and was just natural with me all day. I now need to sit through 2 hours of audio and pick out the best bits and put it to some nice footage and bingo!
We had lots of fun walking around town and taking photos. We went to a cafe and he for once didn’t kick off about it being ‘posh’ or not wanting to eat cake or drink tea, he just sat and enjoyed it! Breakthrough, and we will be going back there for sure to test my theory.
The last thing I am going to leave you explains itself when you watch so enjoy!
I always keep my eyes peeled for where dementia is in the news and this one does not surprise me, with care homes turning people away.
I found the story here, and I can’t for the life of me find the original it refers to however let me break this down for you:
Care homes are not taking some people on board with dementia
The word ‘cherry picked’ is used in the article and let me tell you its right when it comes to finding homes for people.
I can only ever speak from my own experience but with such a blanketterm asCare home can lump a lot of different forms into one. People at varying points of living with there dementia will need different care needs, and that also comes with a varying degree of money and expertise to give the best care possible.
An example of what I have first-hand experience with is EMI care home. That is a very different ball game to that of say a residential care home. This is speciality care, that comes at a hefty price increase for somewhere that would have the basic of facilities and care in place. And this is not suited for someone with early to mid stages of dementia (in my opinion). This was an awful option for my father, to what felt more like a mental asylum. And even in speciality homes, not everyone will take people in, and certainly if you are not paying a premium for the service.
Now in their defence, they want to give the best care they can, and more often than not there is not enough money, time or care in the system to be able to help. In an ideal world we would be in a society where we can care for our elderly in family homes with extra care but thats a bigger problem completely!
But reality can suck, and people need to find places for their loved ones, so what do you do in that situation …
Refusing to take people that have been in the hospital
Let me tell you why. Because people decline dramticlly once they have been in hosiptal, but they are still people!
And no one wants to have to deal with that, but then it puts even more pressure on the NHS. I wanted to get my Dad out of the hospital for weeks, and what he was like in the hospital compared to being out he was like a comply different man (still very much with Alzheimer’s.) How can you judge how they will be when you are caring for them? And when people do have advanced dementia it is never that simple, moving people is disorienting for everyone.
When you find a gem of a care home, make sure you stay on top of them to make sure they are caring for your loved one in the best way possible. However, it’s a sad reality we live in where there are just not the facilities to care for people an there is no easy fix or answer to such a fatal pain point for everyone affected; The person living with dementia, their family and people working at the grassroots of the care system.
I don’t remember a lot of my Gran, I must have been quite young when she died but she lived about 15 miles from us in a place called Ellesmere port. It has a charming name, but in my mind it’s also been a bit of a desolate shit hole. But still charming in that sense hahah.
What I remember:
Driving down the motorway past the Vauxhall car factory and what looked like an abandoned barn and always wondering about it. Then arriving at a little bungalow and hiding behind my Dad, with my head up his jumper so my head is covered and giggling as she comes to the door.
I remember the set out of the front room, kitchen and especially the garden. I couldn’t tell you how little I was but once I got lost in it and couldn’t see over the extremely long grass. It was a long narrow garden with only grass, and then the horrendous noise of the lawn mower was just terrifying, and I eventually found my way out, obviously.
I remember the bright yellow sunflower bed that was eventually moved into the front room. Anything other than that would after she died.
What I am told:
She would never eat her food and always tried the flush the sandwiches made for her down the toilet.
She would be so annoyed at the long grass she would try and cut it with scissors, until my Dad/Mum came around to cut it.
And she had Alzheimer’s. I was only little when she died, and thinking about it, maybe I do remember times where my Dad would try and get us to talk saying ‘Don’t you remember little Emily?’, but it’s not a firm memory, and I probably thought this was just normal for old people. I was also named after her which I also love the thought of now I am older.
She would call my Dad and say she didn’t know where she was, and my dad would say ‘Are you sitting on a bed with a big yellow sunflower on it?’ and she would say ‘Yes’. To which my Dad would say ‘You are home Mum.’
I only realised this when my dad was in hospital and my 2 older sisters said she had it to, and it all fit into place. Now I don’t ever try to write about things I don’t know about, and I don’t know enough about the science of Alzheimer’s being in the family, but if there was an indicator that sits in my family, its right in front of me.
This also links with mine and my father’s relationship with graveyards. We would often pop down and put flowers on her grave, but we would also walk around and look at all the old gravestones. We would wonder about all sorts of stuff such as what it would be like in the time, why they had that verse on there grave, all the way through to the meaning of life and heaven and hell. Deep stuff hahah
But I was just reflecting on the last weekend I had with my father and remembered today is her birthday. I am TRULY shit with remembering birthdays, but my Mothers is tomorrow, and it has always stuck with me that today is my Grans. If I am honest I don’t even remember what I called her, Nan? Gran?
She was my only living grandparent, and very close to my father’s heart, and only now am I seeing the true reflection of that in both my relationship with my father, and how he tears up at the thought of his precious Mam. And so the cycle continues.
I love Lumiere London 2 years ago and when I heard it was coming back I had to make sure I do it all again. Now it is only the first night but I have been around Kings Cross and Fitzrovia and I feel like I can tell you what to skip and what not to miss from those sections at least! Keep reading as some of my highlights happened at the end of the night, and not in Kings Cross… shocker.
I went with a bunch of girls from my house which was nice and then carried on the night with just me and Ben. As you can see Ben is a girl. But we happen to have the same first name and that just won’t do! So we go via our second names, and even if I try that will never change now, soz Ben.
Now you always start here, classic. Apparently this thing is called IFO. But ok. If you have the patience make sure you pop inside and blag on the swing as if you were 5 again. Day or night for that one guys so you can thank me later 😉
On the walk up to Granary square, they had these fun giant desk lamps which I really liked. You literally can’t miss them and in all different colours, it eases you in nicely. In fact its that kind of thing I would love to see there permanently.
This next bit was always going to be good as they have such a space to play with and it didn’t disappoint. A definite highlight and with you guaranteed to come away with a photo that you love, this one was called WaterLicht.
Now if you wanted to know more about the actual piece itself, buy the guide or go to the website, you are not going to get that here I am afraid. What I will tell you, however, is it was a range of lasers that went across the square through a mist that was created. This complements the wavey lasers projected on to the main building itself and the area was choc a block. Not so bad that you felt crazy crammed an uncomfortable but a kind of community fun crowed. Everyone has space to enjoy and marvel at the lights we were all the center off and I would highly recommend!
Now there were a few things in between the square and this next one. One included looking up at a dangling projector screen from a crane that I wasn’t all the enamored with and a small marketplace to grab some food and eat brightly flashing candy floss. However after seeing pictures of what to expect from Kings Cross, this next one was what I was most excited for, and ultimately most let down with. Talk about false advertising! Even Ben when we came home said ‘Hang on that looks nothing like it does in real life!’ And she would be right. Introducing Entre Les Rangs.
So I won’t describe what the promo picture makes it out to be, as that would be like rubbing salt in a wound, let me tell you what it was really like (my name is Honest Emily after all.) You are fed through little walkways of plastic cladding that are laid over the perfect grass (must be fake) to stare at a bunch of those old reflectors you would put on your bike as a kid on top of sticks. You all trundle along, in an uncomfortable fashion being funneled past these old, bland patches of a child’s half-arsed imagination of space-age lollipops. Maybe I am a bit harsh, but there were lights that would flash over them to help illuminate in what I can only imagine is a trying to bring character to n otherwise plain display at a light festival. It was just a litte uninspiring for how long it went for as well. If it was more of a free for all through the reflectors it may have been more fun, and I get why they didnt do it, but it just wasnt all that. Its a look if you happen to be there kind vibe.
I am not even sure what this next bit was about I can’t even be sure it part of the installation, but it was a pretty cool area to walk through. I will let my pictures do the talking but the use of old metal work and the cleer use of mirrors around a garden space were a true joy to explore. It made you look twice as you walked as you would see everything slightly differntly and twice. This was also a favorite of mine, and worth a look around even though it is the one that is the further walk away from Kings Cross station itself.
After that, there were these really fun watering cans. At first, I thought they where plastic bag style lampshade but then eventually realised they are all little suspended watering can feeding the plants. This is another nice surprise and such a nice fun edition that I would recommend going around to see it.
Not that I did but lots of people go to hold them and take a fun photo, and I just thought this was a really fun little installation.
We then made our way around to Granery square and up through the centre to see Aether. Its all about the music on this one, but also don’t get too caught up in the dangling pins from the ceiling, but don’t forget to check the black slats they are reflecting on which adds to the whole dramatic atmosphere (especially with the music).
So that about does it for Kings Cross for us. I would say it is all on a nice walkable route so walk around, but dot miss out the watering can in the top right-hand order. The reflectors are next to the market, but it was the most disappointing. And Granary square is ALWAYS a good.
So this is where me and Ben when on our little Fitrovia little mission. And DO NOT MISS these little stops, which aren’t as central as any of the others. I mean whats in Fitzrovia anyway? Lots of nice places to eat, offices and a banging sale section in the massive paperchase. And these little beauties …
Control no control is the title of this bad boy. It changes patterns and sounds over longer periods of time and is reactive to your touch. Not directly onto the cube but if you hover over it changes. Its genuinely engaging over a longer period of time, and its amusing seeing how other people react. How the pattern changes to something new you havnt seen and everyone rushes forward to try and touch and make the lights change to there movements.
From here we headed over to by far one of the coolest and most engaging from what I have seen so far. WE PLAYED A GAME ON THE SIDE OF A BUILDING. After Ben hit someone in the face with her scarf (accident but hilarious) we found ourself in front of this huge building, trying to figure out what it is.
When you know you know, and it’s playing the old school A-Bit game, just on the side of a building. There are sensors you put your hand into to raise your bar up or down to try and bounce a ball from it and stopping it hitting the end. Once you know you go ‘OOOOO ITS THIS..’ and you can hear everyone else coming to join the group and the pennies dropping across the crowd, while we are all being very British and queuing to have our go.
Before we had our turns ( we only waiting before 3 pairs of people so we got there at just the right time!) there we 2 blokes in front, one with a blue hat and one with an orange/red hat. And they went to play and their hats matched their team colour perfectly, if only they had planed it, and if only I had a better picture video!
From here we potter over to this little chapel tucked away inside a brand new multi-use complex in the centre of Fitzrovia for what was called dripping. It was in an enclosed courtyard, with only a handful of others. It was very calming and just had a magical vibe, I am not sure how else to explain it. So tucked away and unexpected. Also I just feel like I have an assimilation with anything semi nature related, there is nothing more beautiful than nature itself and bring our own human spin on both nature and our relationship with it is what I go for every single time. Tech and futuristic themes are just not for me! But check out the video, it does the trick at explaining it perfectly!
Also last one for this one, and if you saw my Instagram story, I did it justice there. Did I have to stick around for longer? Did I miss something, please tell me because this was such a let down after what was there 2 years ago! And that’s putting my reaction in a more favourable light … I mean I played a game on the side of a building ealier! LOL
So let me end this blog post here, for all who actually read this far, you are a true legend or very nosey 😉 I will be doing a lot more of it over the weekend so give me a heads up if you have been out and seen what is good, I would love to know! xx
I do love the On This Day feature on Facebook, and on this say in 2015, I graduated with a Geography degree from Kings College London. And the very one thing I was determined to do, was to get my dad to the ceremony!
Now you may think that would be an easy task, any Dad would love to see his daughter do this, but oh no it was a job and a half, but I did get him there!
Now my own memory is patchy but I will tell you what I do remember. It started with me planting the seed over the phone, and going up north to make sure he was fully prepared and knew what he was getting himself into. Dragged him into town and said “You are coming to London with me soon and you need to look very smart, and we are getting you a suit! Go straight to the sales rack and get him to try a few on.” Now he was a good sport, the guy in the shop was helping me and I picked him a rather snazzy suit, maybe because it was on sale, and maybe because I thought lets just go big or go home. It was a very shiny grey, smooth fancy kind of grey with a black trim (I have no idea the proper terms for man’s suit!)
Get him to part with his money and then we go straight over the road to M&S to get him some shoes. Now my Dad has always been a certain way, and I have always known to manage his moods, so we needed to be quick and precise. Picked up some smart shoes, put them on his feet before he even knew what was happening and he did like them on! BOOM shoes bought. Little did I know that literally a year later he would wear this very fancy shoes out walking on a wet Friday night, not knowing where he lived before he was hositalised.
Again, my memory is patchy but I don’t remember how he got down to London. He must have got on the train at Liverpool and me meet him at Euston to come back to the pub where I lived at the time. I had use of a small little flat above all for me which I loved, which meant my dad had my room and I was on the sofa.
I do remember trying to get up early the next morning and rushing to get us all ready. If I remember correctly I brought all his clothes down for him, to give him one less thing to remember and worry about. Then we come downstairs, ready to get the tube to the Barbican and Clare who I lived with at the pub took a quick photo before we left. Otherwise, I didn’t take many photos myself as I was always a believer in just being in the moment and enjoying it. But now my memories are fading and his are completely disappearing I wish I had a balance of that, but hey hindsight is a wonderful thing!
My mother and her husband were coming down, and so was one of my sisters and her husband, so we would meet them there, and I popped off to get my robe, fake certificate, and all that jazz. After the main bit of walking on the stage then comes the awkwardly talking to people you know and your lecturers with a glass of wine and a sandwich. I distinctly remember speaking to my favorite lecturer who was my dissertation supervisor, and my Dad just wanted to make a conversation, but he simply didn’t know what he was talking about and didn’t make a great deal of sense (really should of known at this stage too!). He kept talking about how he didn’t know how great the university it was, and prestigious and all that good stuff, and I must of just try to close the conversation down an move on, but I loved that he tried.
Jump to a few hours later, we have a family photo and then everyone starts to leave. He is going back to Liverpool that day and his worrying kicks in. I mean looking back at what he is like now, this must of been signs for us that maybe something wasn’t right, but he has always been a bit like this, and you just try and manage it through the day, day by day, and just consider that a win. At this stage, I was just so happy I had managed to get him down, but he started with his usual routine of saying we need to get to the station for his train. His other daughter and husband are there that he spends no time with and trying to force that just was not going anywhere and he was just getting agitated. So they left, we had tried for as long as we could manage (and he could manage.) To then make a point we hopped in a black cab to get the station, and it was at least an hour early.
So we get the station, he has his stuff and it kicks in that we are here so early and I am annoyed. He becomes super apologetic and soppy,’oh you know I love you don’t you.’ Now I wasn’t being a bitch, I just kept making my rational point of you never spend time with us, and we had hours to get here for his train. And that was it, he went home and he made it to my graduation.
When he went missing that Jan weekend of 2016 a year later, it did cross my mind that he had left his normal walking shoes in the corner and somehow grabbed his posh shoes. Which are so much harder to put on (I had to help him for my graduation) so he must of not know and be so disoriented that he went without his coat, proper shoes, keys, and phones to walk around town, and then didn’t know where to go back to. And that brings us back around to a story I won’t say again.
Going to Kings was one of the greatest experiences I was so privileged to have done, people said don’t move down to London, its expensive but I love it! And I will always remember that I dragged my Dad down for such a key moment in my life, and call me selfish but I don’t regret the work or his rattiness at all. It happened 🙂
Let me take it back a min to 2016. It was a tad rough in places as that was the year where I spent half of it going back and forth, every weekend up north during the time my father was getting a diagnosis. And the second half making sure my Dad gets settled and just adjusting. And it’s safe to say a lot has changed since then …
I started a blog!
Having gone through the year trying to get my Dad sorted, I had not ever seen the impacts Alzheimer’s elsewhere (as an adult with full recognition). I decided now is the time to make my own memories and help record them for other people to see the reality of Alzheimer’s for a loved one. Also, 2017 was going to be the year of discipline for me, and what better way to give it ago then to keep on top of recording the relationship between me and my father, and lots of other stuff in between.
I started making videos first
The first place I looked to find information on Alzheimer’s and how it manifests was youtube. There were a lot of videos with high production value from charities and companies which is great, and the odd semi-viral video of heartwarming moments between families that would be 3-5 years old, an in portrait mode.
I am dyslexic and would rather sit and watch a video than read a full article, its just time saving and a picture can tell a thousand words, so that’s where I started, with my first vlog.
My first blogger event.
I have struggled a lot with the idea of people making themselves a brand, being quite self-obsessed, and where people get the ideas for content from. Now I am not saying there is anything wrong with that, and I think you need to have a little of that in order to get the ball rolling and actually get people to see what you create. But the idea around being self-centered made me feel very uncomfortable, and my first event kinda highlighted that for me. However, it also opened my eyes to how I can best film what I want, which is vlogs on the go, that is watchable with good sound quality. And I meet other people doing their blogs and vlogs alongside there daily lives which were great!
So for me, I had no real idea where to start so just used my phone (which is actually a tablet) to record, and started a blog and just wrote my thoughts and experiences. And I am pottering along and learning as I go 🙂
I went on 2 holidays to Portugal and countless trips around the UK
I like to travel and this has been blessed to go to Portugal twice and lots of other small holidays with Elliot, including climbing Snowden, taking Elliot back to Liverpool and countless trips to the south coast to see my Father. All of which I have tried to make some kind of record of, including might I add vlogging the whole of our Portugal road trip, so watch this space hahahaha.
Seeing how my fathers memories are all but disappearing, its so important for me to have the balance of recording for future and enjoying the moment, so that’s my best advice for anyone. Treasure every moment, good and bad and make a small record of it all if you can.
I moved house!
Feb this year I moved into the most stunning house I will ever live in hands down, in London with such an amazing bunch of like-minded people. There are 7 of us under one roof and its great to always have someone about, have deep chats with, watch a film or cook with. It also gives me space and the freedom to do literally whatever I want. Sounds weird but I love to have people over, and I have a lot of stuff and we just have the space for everything! London flats an can often be very small, and there is a lot of me and a lot of my stuff to squeeze into living spaces lol.
3 different job opportunities and 2 trips to Paris later …
I don’t want to go into to much detail but for everyone who knows me it has been up and down, for no real fault of my own, job wise this year. But I am now settled in a job I love, that challenges me in lots of ways and perfectly fits my life at the moment, and I couldn’t be happier.
And all this from the top of my head! I am so looking forward to 2018 and what the year will bring, but I think its a great habit to be able to look back, see how you have grown, how things around you have progressed and have a gratitude for it all.
I hope your 2017 was the best it could have been, or if not you simply made the most of what you did have, and here’s to a progressive 2018! xx
I get there a lot later than I want, but that’s life. And if I don’t write this now, I will forget everything.
He was having dinner, and he knew my face but not sure he knew must else at this stage, but that is an assumption.
There were 2 other people visiting someone else and he was certain they were police, and all he could talk about how they want to put him in prison, and they can do, he just doesn’t care. To be honest, there was no real difference, he has always thought like this, maybe just not of been so open about his thoughts, and talked about it for so long. But that’s what paranoia gets you.
I made sure to drop in where I naturally could that he is my father, and I am his daughter, so that if he wasn’t sure, its a gentle reminder for him. Towards the end, he got there.
As it was dark, we sat in the front conservatory bit, and every second sentence was asking how I would get home. He wants to walk me home, he keeps repeating:
‘I know where I am going, and what I am doing you know. And I walk a lot, that’s how I keep fit. And in the dark, I want to make sure you get back ok.’
‘I would feel a lot better if I knew you got home ok, I can walk myself home you know.’
So I would make light of it, change the subject and say I would feel better with him staying there. Towards the end, he would say, ‘what kinda father would allow his daughter to walk home in the dark.’ to which point he lost his rag, and I knew there was no entertaining him.
I knew it already, an it was worth a try, but there is no staying past dark, he just won’t allow it.
And whenever I visit he will just try and get rid of me, but I tried, and I will see him tomorrow.
I have not spent a Christmas with him since I was very small, and even then I don’t remember much either to be honest.
One of the things I do remember is taking him a Christmas dinner on boxing day and that was about it.
Now before my Dad got his diagnosis, he volunteered at a placed called The Misson. I am not sure how to describe it as a place, but it does amazing work for the poor and homeless in Birkenhead and is very close to my heart. He would drive the van and pick up donations or help drop them off to people and families who need anything really. Along with that, he would pick up people for their big Christmas meal, with something like 200 people that go (I think) down in the rugby club or somewhere similar.
That was his community; he loved it, he was social, had value and got a huge social Christmas meal with all his friends. Which if I am honest I may be a little jealous off ;). It wasn’t all rosy mind you (when is it ever, let’s be honest) but it gave me peace that he was having a great time, so I didn’t feel the need to get involved. And I just hop around great family and friends for my Christmas.
But this year I want to spend some time with him, and it will be our first proper Christmas together since I was maybe 7?
What am I expecting?
I feel like I have a good handle on what his moods can be like, we can squeeze a nap in there too, but other than what he is usually like, I don’t know how Alzheimer’s is going to play its part.
We have never done presents either. I remember trying to get him things for Father day and Christmas and just struggled a bit, he didn’t even seem to care really, he doesn’t like the idea of being made a fuss of. But I always know if there is anything I needed in the year, he was my go-to for anything. So I don’t need birthday or Christmas presents as I get everything need and more throughout the year, and Christmas is so much more than just the presents.
So I have bought him some CDs in the hope he can have some variety of music to listen to, and with four complications of 5 CDs each, there should be some music he likes that will stick. And I will make sure to open something with him, so it’s not awkward and makes it a little more Christmasy.
I know he is better in the morning and grumpier in the afternoon/evening (who isn’t). And it’s been a long time since I spent four days consecutive with him. I want to go to church with him if I can, and just see what he is like an how things have changed over a more extended period. He always tries to shoo me home back to London whenever I arrive, but in staying in the same village, he might be a bit calmer about it all.
I think I am going to be shocked, or maybe just more things revealed to me about either how good or bad his memory, functions, or moods are. I will try and film as much as I can, but I still want to make my own very natural memories with him, I never want to force anything and make things uncomfortable.
The big question is will he know me and my relevance?
My guess is he will know my name (sometimes), and he probably won’t know I am his daughter (most of the time). And of course, part of me wants to ask him these questions, get it on camera, and be up front like ‘Do you know my name? Do you know who I am?’ But that’s just the morbid part of me that like the idea of picking at scabs and just seeing what happens, and it just makes things worse. But that would only be forced, and ignorance is bliss, right?
So wish me luck! If anyone has any ideas of activities or things we can do, I have not planned the time at all; I would just be happy even being in his company for the holidays, so let’s see how we go.
If anyone who reads this knows him, and wants to wish him a Merry Christmas I would be more than happy to pass the message along, and even try and do a little video message for you! Now that would be interesting …