An Open Letter to Dementia

Subject: An Open Letter to Dementia
From: A daughter
Date: 24 May 2015

I often wonder if dementia was a person, what would I say to you?
So often I'm filled with hate, anger, sadness and frustration towards you, that I wouldn't know how to put it into words.
I think I'll start with I hate you dementia. I hate that you've made my kind, selfless, loving mum, into a person that can't express any of these things anymore. Instead over the years you made communicate with us less and not be able to share emotion.
I hate that you've made my once sociable mum, lonely, isolated and unable to communicate with friends and family.
I hate that you've taken this once independent, inspiring, and passionate woman, and turned her into someone that can no longer look after themselves. I hate that you've turned each of her children, family and friends, into carers, from the woman that once loved caring for everybody else.
I hate that for years you disguised yourself other things, depression, anxiety. You delayed us finding you, and in the process prevented mum getting help, damaged relationships, and made her even more lonely dealing with you.
I hate that you weren't happy enough with taking our lovely mum. You had to threaten us with the fear that one day you might get us too. You had to make us feel guilty and accountable for the impact of you on mum. You've filled our days with grief, loneliness and sadness. You've ruined relationships, friends and family that find it too difficult to call us or mum, because they are scared of you. You've taken away our memories too, with you being all consuming; you make it hard to remember how things were before you.
But dementia despite all the hate, anger, sadness and grief, there are still things you can’t take away. The good days. There are the days she tells us how proud of us she is. There are the days when she remembers to tell us she loves us before bed. There are the days we see her briefly smile, or hear her laugh. There are the days that we see a glimpse of who she used to be, before you. These are the things you can’t take away. We will keep working to remember the good days. We will keep fighting to remember how things were before you. We will remind her every single day how loved and important she is, and how even you couldn’t change that. You have taught us the true value of unconditional love, and we will use that to beat you. We will never give up, never give up on loving her, and never ever give up on ending you. You’ve affected so many people’s lives, snuck in and attacked the most vulnerable. Together we will keep researching, and learning new ways to beat you. We will keep loving, always loving, and fighting for those good days. One day we will end you, as you will never be able to take away the unconditional love you taught us.