PLEASE NOTE: Even though this blog is now dormant there are many useful, insightful posts. Scroll back from the end or forward from the beginning. Also, check out my writer's blog. Periodically I will add posts here if they provide additional information about living well with Dementia / Alzheimer's Disease.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Whose Dementia Is This Anyway?

Kate discusses in a recent post on her blog, which originates in Australia, the idea that "the person living with someone who is diagnosed with dementia, is not living with dementia, but instead they are living with someone diagnosed and living with dementia."

See Kate's full post by clicking here. Opens in a .new window

Here is my reply:

Wow. What a thought provoker. I hate you for my having to sit down and think about this and clarify my thoughts :-) I often have said that Gregory and I are living with Dementia/ Alzheimer's. I have also referred to: "Living with and loving someone with dementia." 

Yes, I will never know what Gregory really went through, experienced, thought about, feared, etc. Also, Gregory was never really able to verbally share that with me through the protective buffer which the Dementia/ Alzheimer's placed between his inside and his outside world. 

But in our strong strong relationship; during the forty years of which we always discussed, shared, negotiated, evaluated and re-evaluated roles, and more; as I watched his decline, watched his abilities diminish and eventually disappear; as we worked together with love and respect to support each other; as I tried my best not underestimate or prematurely suggest or force his disengagement from the activities of life ... wow that is a dense sentence ... I would have to say that both of us WERE LIVING WITH DEMENTIA!

When you so truly and strongly love love someone, how can you separate who is who? Semantics maybe, but hard at least for me to separate! Kate, with respect to you :-) Gregory and I lived with dementia. Especially if you see it as Gregory and Michael living their life with a third party intruder! As you say, "IT!"

Let me reflect on your third party "it" with a poem of mine:

Would I be insulting your intelligence to tell you that Ménage à trois is a French term which originally described a domestic arrangement, in which three people having sexual relations occupy the same household? The phrase literally translates as "household of three.” This poem is called:

By Michael A. Horvich

Over twenty five years and their relationship was as strong as ever, 
Their love continuing to grow, change, and adjust to the times. 
Same sex love was not fashionable when they first met in the 70’s.
It was known as "the love that dare not speak its name." 

Most churches will not recognize nor bless their love, their union.
Slowly society has acknowledged it out loud but for the most part still in whispers.           
Each partner was very much unlike the other. 
He was tall and he was short. He was fair and he was dark. 

He was slender and he was bulky.
He was a recovering Catholic. He was a recovering Jew.
He was calm, thoughtful, and orderly.
He was animated, impulsive, and random.

Often he described him as a “stick” meaning hard, formed, and inflexible. 
In turn, he described him as a “sponge” meaning soft, malleable, absorbing. 
Over time the stick became more sponge-like
And the sponge became more stick-like.

One day, twelve years ago, uninvited and unannounced,
Unasked, a third partner joined the relationship. 
Alzheimer’s does not discriminate against same sex relationships,
Nor seek permission to join the party. 

So it became a ménage à trois.
Three entities occupying the same household.
Now, he is becoming less, and he is having to become more. 
Now he has difficulty communicating, and he has to tell both of their stories.

Slowly while he has been becoming the back partner in this ménage à trios
And while he has been becoming the forward partner …
Alzheimer’s is becoming the dominant partner.

(RIP Gregory L. Maire October 4, 2015)

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