Stepping Out into A World of Two Halves

Garrarus Beach, Co. Waterford
Garrarus Beach, Co. Waterford

Sunset at Garrarus caught me off guard today as it was all about contrasts, light and shade, closing in and opening out.

It evoked thoughts of Turner’s paintings, but even more thoughts of distance and togetherness.

Nowhere is the issue of distance and togetherness more apparent than in relationships where a person has dementia.

The moodiness of the scene made me think of my late father, who used the word ‘moody’ very much when it came to photographs and paintings. He had some form of dementia in his later years. This made for stormy moments but also moments of intense clarity and oneness.

I think of him with intense love as I listen to the great Liam Clancy and Tommy Makem singing The Dutchman. 



Author: socialbridge

I am a sociologist and writer from Ireland. I have worked as a social researcher for 30 years and have had a lifelong passion for writing. My main research interests relate to health care and sense of place.

9 thoughts on “Stepping Out into A World of Two Halves”

  1. I like how you describe your father as having had both stormy moments and moments “intense clarity and oneness.” It’s a beautiful description.

  2. Dementia is so so cruel and hard to accept. I’m sorry that your Dad had a hard time in his final years jean. At least he had you to care and love him. That means a lot.

    1. Hi Paul, I’m glad to say that I don’t hold quite the same view as you about dementia from the experiences that I’ve had with it with Father and a very special aunt.
      In both cases, it was possible to maintain connection through very regular visits and chats and in both cases they held onto their abilities to analyse. So Father continued to be a source of great advice right up to when he died. He wouldn’t remember the conversations after we’d had them but he was sharp as anything when it came to weighing things up.
      I think that one of the keys is to maintain connection through regular visits; otherwise all is pretty much lost.
      I discovered the Memory Bridge Organisation in the US after he had died and that’s their philosophy too. I was fortunate to meet with one of the founder members and felt that their whole approach was wonderful and is one that should be rolled out as much as possible.

      I know that dementia varies from person to person but overall I think people with it tend to be written off far too quickly.

      1. Thank you for your comment Jean. You are right, all I have seen of dementia has been from afar. I am pleased to hear that it can be overcome with contact. I recall one night when I was an inpatient at the hospital, I was out for a stroll on the floor and there was a woman of about 50 who was sitting in a wheel chair outside a room, clutching a black and white teddy bear. She was crying in great sobs and I stopped to see of there was anything she needed. I couldn’t communicate with her so i stopped at the nursing station and told the nurses. They said that she did that every night and it was a result of dementia. She was only on this floor because she required a medical procedure, It was so sad to me – she was just parked in the corridor and left to sob.

        Anyway, thanks for the info Jean. Great post.

        1. Oh Paul, that’s just awful. I must say that we always made sure that Dad had one of us with him whenever he was in hospital as a familiar face is crucial. Hospitals are so, so disorientating for people with dementia and it’s heartbreaking to see them sobbing and agitated like you describe.

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