Hello, my name is Matty.
I’m a retired nurse, a wife, a sister, a mother, a grandmother
and even a great-grandmother.
and like most mothers, I love my family.
I also love the wind in my hair and the sun on my face.
I love laughing at funny jokes, listening to favourite songs
and watching old movies.
One day, however, that all changed.
One day I became invisible — the true me lost forever.
One day, everything about me
— who I am, what is precious to me, what I think, how I feel —
was all just rolled up into one tiny little box and disposed of.
A large label was printed in big bold letters.
It was then firmly placed on that box.
What really annoys me is that, through my eyes,
it’s not the condition that’s fatal.
I can adapt to that with the help of my wonderful family.
It’s the fact that as soon as the word ‘dementia’ is mentioned that is all people can see.
Not being known as a person really hurts.
Inside, I am still the same person with hopes, dreams, likes, dislikes.
I am me.
I don’t want to live a life in the “person with dementia” box.
I can now never be treated like a friend, or a colleague
or someone’s next-door neighbour.
The dementia label always takes centre stage.
I am not a “sufferer” of dementia.
I am more than that.
I can still make decisions that affect me, my care and my future.
I can still take steps to live as independently a life for as long as possible.
I can still be part of a family.
Recently, I’ve found myself adapting to a kind of “going undercover”,
just to try and regain a sense of “normality” and
watching how people react to me if they don’t know I have dementia.
OK, I have to think about what I am saying but I get there.
In the end, I get there.
Unless those around me start putting me first,
remember me for who I am and not my condition,
my journey will be even more difficult than it has to be.
Just because I can’t remember doesn’t mean that you can forget that…..
I am Matty.