Father’s Day throughout my life used to be such a wonderful occasion. Growing up, I used to love creating home-made cards and treats for Dad to celebrate his special day. As an adult, with every passing year, I realised just how much Dad had done for me and I always took great care to select the best card with the strongest expression of my love, respect and thanks. Our family Father’s Day lunches were always such fun and full of laughter and promise for the future.
Dad was a really intelligent and well-educated man, with views and useful ideas on just about every topic which helped me enormously in navigating my way through the ups and downs of life.
So when Dad was first diagnosed with dementia back in 2007, it came as a real shock and our family had very little idea really what it meant. It’s been a long, hard journey of increasing disability and isolation. I did all I could to mitigate this by supporting my parents, creating a new service to help them and others afflicted by this terrible condition but it’s been a tiring and devastating experience for my family and me.
My father sadly died in November last year, but he’d been lost for a long time before that. Every year I’d still buy him a Father’s Day card as I always did, but this will be the first year without that ritual, and without him. To put it simply, I miss my dad.
Father’s Day was always an uplifting occasion. Dad was my rock, my source of sound advice, my sounding board. But as years passed and precious time slipped away so my rock slid into the sand and eventually everything fell silent. Dad became gradually more disoriented, lost the use of his body, except for his eyebrows with which he could signal a message to us. I know he’d want me to keep fighting for him, which is why I’m writing this blog, and continuing to do all I can for Alzheimer’s Research UK.
My story is just one of so many of those afflicted by this terrible condition. There are 850,000 people and their families living with dementia right now. If just one person donates to the charity after reading my story, that will make my Father’s Day worthwhile once again. Let’s find a cure together!