Recently, I wrote a post outlining some factual information about events following my marriage to Anthony. Almost immediately, I received a flurry of support from other family members, but this one stands out:
Dear Julie and Ming
I have been extremely interested by your comments about the past. You are on the right track, I believe. It is very important to remember incidences that have had a profound effect on you and your family. It is more important to recall the actual facts that have not been changed by glossing over the truth or to suit particular individuals. What you have recalled regarding J’s behaviour is fact. I can remember Anthony telling us.
I have discovered many interesting things about the Goyders and the Stewarts thanks to your box. Much of the information is quite contrary to what J. believed.
I am hoping to have it all together (within the next year) so that Ming, being the youngest of the generation will know some more about his family. It will all be factual too.
You continue to do what is best for Anthony and your patience with others who think they know better is amazing.
But then I received this:
What are you hoping to gain from ranting about … ??? You’ve only alienated yourself even more from our Family!!! I feel sorry for you Julie it obviously consumes you and makes you behave badly !!!
Of course this niece of Anthony’s is upset; and of course she doesn’t want to acknowledge that her father may have bullied Anthony into such a state of stress that he was gobbled up by one disease after another.
What should have been an idyllic first few years of marriage, with the ever-cute Ming, was tainted terribly by the extraordinary and (for me) unexpected malevolence of these relatives.
I had the most beautiful afternoon with Ants today. As I arrived, my wonderful mother left (she and I are his almost daily visitors). He was wide awake, bright-eyed, defying all odds, my hero. I told him about everything that had happened lately and I cried into his wonderful shoulder.
Me: Do you remember the ‘party’ the other day, Ants?
Ants: My birthday?
Me: No, it had a kind of death theme actually, but I didn’t realise it at the time.
Ants: Who is dying?
Me: You, apparently.
Ants: What rubbish. Look at this!
With that, he pointed proudly (as he often does) to his very flat stomach. Years ago he was a bit more rotund!
This is the thing, you see: Ants is on the other ‘side,’ so to speak, of the dementia of PDD. He has totally forgotten the ‘party’ of course; he often forgets his age, or where he is, or what is wrong with him. But he remembers the familiar very well and the constancy of my almost-daily presence, Ming’s, his nephews’ visits, my mother’s frequent knitting visits; the letters from his god-daughter (also niece); visits from my friends who love me almost as much as they love him; the carers and other staff at the nursing home.
This is the truth.