wings and things


on June 28, 2017

I have a new sense of purpose, having returned from the Happiness and its Causes conference in Sydney. Ming and I delivered a talk entitled “Dementia Dialogues” in which we described our experience of Anthony’s Dementia. I have already written about this on Facebook so will not repeat myself here.

The conference experience was both fascinating and enriching with an eclectic mix of scientific and experiential approaches to happiness. Kindness (both to others and ourselves), generosity and gratitude were recurring themes and Ming and I learned so much.

One of the best outcomes for me was the sense of purpose I now have in terms of writing the book I have been trying to write for so long, but didn’t know where to start. In preparing notes for our talk, I had unwittingly created a loose framework for this book and, since I only had time to convey some of the points Ming and I wanted to make, those notes are a great incentive.

My plan is to write a short-ish book, with very short, easily digestible chapters, about the strange and wonderful conversations I share with Anthony, Ming, carers, relatives and friends. In this sense I think that the title “Dementia Dialogues” will work and I plan to pitch it to Penguin publishers.

Instead of a rather vague sense of purpose, I now think I have something more concrete and this blog is a great platform from which to test my ideas. I’ll try to limit chapter drafts to 500 words and post on the blog from July 1st – hopefully two per week.

Several weeks ago, I told Anthony I wanted to write a book about him and he said “No”. When I asked why, he said something so interesting, but so poignant, that I was taken aback.

“Because I don’t exist,” he answered, cryptically.

At the time, I reassured him, of course, but I didn’t have that sense of purpose I have now; I didn’t have the right words, even for myself.

You do exist, Ants, and our ongoing story is my purpose.

17 responses to “Purpose

  1. How exciting to have your structure and purpose.

  2. so good to read this. mot only have you helped yourself by going but you will likely help thousands more in the book. well done Julie

  3. Lois Watts says:

    Awesome news Julie, cannot wait for the book. Of course Ant’s exists that is what its all about your family journey, which may be painful, sad, happy,and every other emotion you as a family are feeling, also you get the feeling of confusion, not just for Ants but for you and Ming, and family. As a family you guys rock. Stay strong and focused. You have so much love and support. xx

  4. susanpoozan says:

    Look forward so much to reading the chapters when you begin to post them.

  5. Anonymous says:

    This long awaited book will be an inspiration to the readers, the way you,and Ming are to all of us
    Observers and supporters who know we could never begin to match the fortitude and wonderful
    Good humour you both display every day. Order me 20 copies immediately please!

  6. Heather Hugo says:

    I have been thinking about you lots and so happy that the experience was so enriching.Love you lots. Heather xx

    Sent from my iPad


  7. ksbeth says:

    wonderful on all counts! can’t wait for this! when anthony said he doesn’t exist, i was thinking that perhaps the anthony who you (and he), once loved, no longer exists, but rather a new version of himself. not necessarily negative, just where he now finds himself.

  8. You and Anthony and Ming…you’re just….beautiful. Here’s to all of you and your purpose! Thank you.

  9. Vicki says:

    Good to hear the conference was beneficial in organising your thoughts on writing a book.

    I find Anthony’s answer “because I don’t exist’ very telling. Obviously there’s more happening in the Dementia sufferer’s mind than might be imagined. To him, perhaps being unable to continue life as a farmer is still something he thinks about internally (if not externally).

    Like people who’ve had a stroke and can’t communicate, the Dementia patient still has dialogues within him/herself.

  10. Judy says:

    I completely relate to this, Julie. A sense of purpose ultimately enriches our lives – there’s a compelling reason to wake up in the morning with a lot to look forward to.
    Another interpretation for me of Ant’s answer could be that he see’s himself as being passed soon – feeling that he won’t exist and the book will be inconsequential.
    On the other side, is that you will be touching and helping so many people. His legacy and love with you will live on!

  11. Yes you both exist and a short book about Anthony and dementia sounds interesting and I am pleased you and Ming and a good experience at the conference

  12. tootlepedal says:

    You have certainly made Anthony exist for all your blog readers. I feel that I know him very well.

  13. So glad that it went so well, and gives you more clarity for what you would like to say in a book… Diane

  14. judyrutrider says:

    You have an enormous task ahead, being not just the voice of the “survivors” but the voice for Ants as well. Your blog leaves not doubt that your book will be a compelling narrative that will inspire admiration and hope in people whose lives are similarly touched.

  15. So glad your seminar was a success! and provided you with a new purpose and solid outlook. You are doing wonderful things for so many people. I hope Penguin likes your book!

  16. Sounds like it was an awesome seminar for you and Ming! I am excited for you in your new purpose and resolve but also that it will lead to more sharing of your unique set of insights and knowledge.

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