I had to make a video for a job interview…

…the other day.  They wanted a two minute clip about any museum object of my choice and were presumably using it to both test my critical thinking around historical objects, but also my digital skills.  I decided not to speak to camera in some sort of unending drawl because that’s boring and so decided on a bit of a humourous clip show. Enjoy!

Youtube clip for video

 

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Update: My Grandma Died.

(This will no doubt be cross-posted to honestemily.com in due time.)

Some may have read my previous blog post about my Grandmother who had Dementia.  A few days ago, I was told that she had died in the early hours of the morning after several days of unconsciousness and deteriorating health. 

This is not a shock.  In many ways it was expected and without sounding callous, it was also probably a mercy that she no longer has to be confused or stressed out by her surroundings or the strange people (her family) who kept showing up and expecting some sort of recognition.

Despite knowing this, it is still upsetting.  She was my Grandma and I loved (love) her and while I have done much of my grieving over the last few years as she lost her mind, it is still hard to know that I will not see her again alive. It is harder still to realise that her death is just the start of an avalanche. 

 I have been unspeakably lucky in that I have had a full set of Grandparents for my entire life, and that I also have fond memories of my maternal Great Grandparents as a child.  Now the first of that cohort has died, and so will the others in their due time.  This is a morbid but true thought, and one that I dread. 

One comfort, small as it may be, is that I know that my Grandmother considered herself religious and that she believed in an afterlife.  I have not got any firm belief in much of anything, however, I hope for her sake (and for mine) that she has gone onto a better place where her mind or some sort of peace has been returned to her. 

I cannot do anything for her now but hope for that and to continue to remember her as my Grandmother, and a person wholly her own, that I loved. 

Dementia Action Week 2018

This article is cross-posted from my friend Emily’s blog.  She is currently promoting Dementia Action Week 2018 and asked me to write about my experience with my Grandma who suffers from the disease.  The original blog post can be found at:

www.honestemily.com/conundrum-of-being-a-dementia-carer-love-vs-reality/

P.S. All formatting/styling etc is Emily’s work.


Conundrum of being a dementia carer – love vs reality

One of my closest friends, Sophie (Damn It Sophie) has been brave enough to write a guest blog piece that makes me realise how lucky I am, and how hard it is for many families who are affected by Dementia. You can read part two on her blog above. Thank you for your honest Soph #HonestMemories 

 

Sophie and Grandma

 

My Grandma has very bad dementia.  She lays in a bed in a care home all day, alternatively sleeping and asking when her long dead Mom and Dad will come to pick her up. Five years ago she was still my fierce and stubborn Grandma who worked in the Sheffield market rag trade for decades.  A beloved Mother and a Grandmother, she taught me the only cake recipe I will ever need (4oz each of flour, sugar, and butter/2 eggs) and was renowned for the New Years parties she hosted during her marriage.  Also for managing to shoot a rat on her farm with her eyes closed and screaming wildly.

It was her body that degraded first. Three hip replacements and a year long battle with MRSA in the 1990s, a weight problem and debilitating mobility issues that made her virtually bedbound.  Then, a few years ago, she began to lose the thread of conversations, ask the same questions again and again and fall asleep as she was talking.  She forgot that she didn’t really make dinner anymore, or do the cleaning, or in fact much of anything around the house due to her ailments.  She forgot everything her devoted partner was doing for her, claiming that she did everything and that no one ever gave her any help.

But none of us could tell her it seemed like she had Dementia or Alzheimer’s.  Not only did she not remember that she was forgetting things (obviously), but she has always had a stubborn temper that no one wanted to encounter and that only worsened with the illness.  She would say we were lying when we tried to get her to understand the issue or berate her partner when she was in hospital, telling him he didn’t care and never came to visit (he went everyday for weeks).  When we made the decision not to renew her driving license a few years ago (not telling her immediately in fear of the temper) she went crazy, despite the fact that she was in no mental or physical condition to drive and hadn’t driven her own car in nearly a decade.  There was no reasoning with her.

Eventually her partner could no longer look after her properly, even with carers coming in morning and night, and respite breaks.  He is older than her and while much fitter it was unfair for him to be the caregiver for her any longer.  He was loathe to let her go even though he knew the toll it was taking on him.  I suppose that is the major conundrum of being a dementia carer – love vs reality.

So we put her in a home, one of her biggest fears – although thankfully she doesn’t really recognise where she is these days.  And as family we all make the obligatory trips when we can, even though it is deeply upsetting to see a proud woman laid so low, unable to recognise us or have any kind of meaningful conversation.  We do it because we love her (or at least the person she used to be) and because of duty, for she was a wonderful caregiver through the years.  I despise this disease for taking her away from us and for making her forget all of the amazing things she’s done.  She was a champion ballroom dancer in her time!  And she got lost in New York City at night in the 90s in full ballroom dress and jewellery! And a Palestinian taxi driver took her home with him when she visited Israel to introduce her to his family, despite being at great risk from the authorities!

She lived a great life…I just wish it didn’t have to end like this.