This is a new memory for me. I already cherish it and I am thankful it is in my mind. I take it for granted that I will remember key events, my marriage, birth of my child, favourite song, the scent of roses. How does it feel to not remember these moments?
On Friday we had a power cut, we have all suffered these I am sure.They are a bit inconvenient. For children its exciting, for the care givers its a bit tense as you start to plan for meals without power, entertaining your wards and preparing for the worst.
But this power cut made me more aware of how this can be frightening and terribly confusing for somebody with dementia. My Granny who is so calm and very peaceful, always smiling these last few weeks with us, did not understand the concept of the power not being on, apart from each time I explained what was happening. Then this cruel condition robbed that memory of my telling her and we would start over. For her a moment is there one second and vanishes with absolutely no recall.
She never complains about her lot, the power cut a curiosity and settled happily without TV, the light failing, the temperature dropping and we unprepared for this event, still half moved homes and most of our candles, torches and lanterns still in our old house.
I gathered what candles we could find. The electric fire and radiators in Granny's room out of action,meant I was instantly on alert for keeping her warm. After Paige and I took it in turns to sit with her and try to coax her into the lounge with us as at least there was a gas fire. But she through aching bones, spine and the condition she suffers meant did not want to make the very short journey and over and over again she said she was quite happy and there she remained.
The whole street became dark, Granny's dinnertime came and we made do with a meal on the (Thank the Lord) gas hob.Then I started to fret, Granny was happy and adamant she was staying put.
Friends came to the rescue with torches and their candles, they couldn't stay as it was just too dark. We still had the issue of keeping her warm, so then I decided to have a family camp out in Granny's room. My idea was our body heat would warm her too. We all piled in, I sat at Granny's feet cuddling her legs, Paige, Conor and Ricky all sat on the floor. Granny insisted they get on the bed, after saying it over and over, they all did. Granny's face lit up and in the candlelight she looked so content.
She said "Aren't I lucky to have all these lovely beautiful people to look at!" She then said "What would I do if I was on my own, I hope nobody is alone in the dark and scared and confused, not understanding there is a power cut"
Chris arrived to cheers as he brought with him battery lighting and a camp stove to warm the rooms and in a few moments we were toasty warm!
We sat around well into the evening, Granny beamed the whole time, we made jokes, tea and ate takeaway.
There was no sign of the power being restored and Granny now tired, decided to go to the bathroom and to bed.
As I waited for her to come out of the bathroom,she hummed to herself, she sounded content and that gave me a really warm glow. She opened the door and repeated how lucky she felt. Then she held my face and said, "This is one of the best evenings I have ever had, I will always remember it as long as I live, how happy I am and just how good you all are to me!"
We kissed good night and I tucked her in. She said "God Bless you and thank you for a wonderful night"
The electric was restored late evening, we had actually started to enjoy the experience and we all felt that our lovely lady had been thoroughly cared for and entertained.
The next morning I took Granny's early morning cuppa. As I opened the curtains I said "We have the electric back Granny!"
With a puzzled look she said, "Oh did it go off in the night then?"
I said "Yes, do you remember us all in here last night?" She said " No, was I asleep?"
Aww Granny you may not remember moments and cherished memories, but I will cherish them for us. I will never forget this night, I will make many, many happy moments that even if they fade, the love we have for you will never be missing.