How many different ways to tell a story?
“What to leave in, what to leave out…”
Which one reaches people?
Who will want to read it?
Did I choose the right one?
As these thoughts tumbled around in my pre-dawn mind, they provoked in me an unexpected reaction: a feeling of certainty. I remembered why I wanted to write this story, and who I want to see it.
Every day more people disappear into the oblivion of dementia. My goal is to ensure that we remember them. That all of them are known as the brilliant individuals they once were and still are. As a former caregiver, I can say that affirming the humanity and identity of the person with dementia is critical to maintaining the caregiver’s own frame of mind, assuring that husbands, wives, parents, and other dearly loved relatives and friends are not forgotten like their fading memories. I want to keep the memories alive even when no one remains who lived them.
That was one of the main reasons why I chose to tell this story. New caregivers are my primary intended audience. I have learned this from my own experience in a support group for six years that the day-to-day details of dementia care are important to people who are just beginning to experience it. We start out blindfolded on an unmarked path in darkness. I want to extend a hand.