In September 2022 I was diagnosed with early Alzheimer's.
Like everyone else who has dementia, dementia isn't who I am.
I want to write what happens as it happens, and share that with you, if you're interested. You might be on a similar path, and I'd love to hear your experiences.
I'm no expert, but two of my favourite people died affected by dementia. So it wasn't new to me.
My son Benn also has a place here - how could he not...
There's a bit more about us all here.
I met Kate in around 2002, at the Leicester Writers' Club. Kate was a writer, a poet, a teacher, and a delight, with a lovely son and daughter too.
We went to art exhibitions, contemporary dance, theatre, festivals, and often travelled together. She was up for anything, and it was hard when she began to forget. It took years to get a diagnosis, and she died during lockdown in 2020.
You can find her work on https://kateruse.co.uk/
Joy played and taught the piano, and she wrote children's books. She had four great children, and I was always delighted to stay with them as a child. She was my mother's sister.
When she was living in a care home in Oadby, Leicestershire, I used to visit and take her out to Wistow Garden Centre, where we sang together, had tea and watched the flowers and the children.
I'm a writer, with seven published books. I've taught and mentored adults, edited books and journals, and I was a psychotherapist for almost thirty years. I make things, and I've been wilding my back garden for a few years now. I've had two wonderful children. Benn died suddenly in 2010; he was an artist and project manager. Kate is a solicitor, a creative baker and mum to Elliot and Will. I'm fortunate to have some good friends and a community in Rothley.
And now I have dementia.
It's hard to know what to say about Benn here. He was an artist who enabled many other artists. He was a wizard at making things, and once built a glass conservatory.
I can't see him objectively, but people tell me he was special to them. He taught me as much as I taught him. I remember his laughter and his sayings and his joy, and some painful times too. We miss him so much, but he's here somewhere.