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About Dementures

Writing about the Experience of Caring for My Mother Through Her Dementia Journey.

Through the winter and spring of 2020, my mother began showing signs of something.

It was hard to say what exactly, but we tried not to kid ourselves. We had a vague impression of what it was, but the pandemic made it challenging to get a clear idea.

When dementia was revealed as the cause of my mother’s symptoms in July of that year, I was already entrenched as her right hand. The pandemic, coupled with the growing burden of her ordeal, forced me to take responsibility where it needed taking, which eventually became every facet of her life – and largely from a distance of over 300 kilometres away.

For nearly four years now, I’ve been helping my mother through this thing called dementia, and although I knew early on that she wouldn’t come out of the pandemic the same person, what I didn’t realize was how much I, too, would change.

About Mel

Mel is short for Melinda. I’m an artist and writer living in Halifax, Nova Scotia, capturing life through a variety of media and sometimes writing about it.

It’s rare for me to visit my mother without the Yashica Mat 124 slung over my shoulder. It’s even rarer for me not to be taking pictures of something with my phone. God knows how many photos combined I’ve collected of my mother and of related matters in the last few years but there’s a lot.

It wasn’t a conscious decision to document all of this, but rather, was an instinct—an innate compulsion to capture my mother’s image in the limited time I had left with her. 

I still don’t know the purpose of these instinctively captured images, but some of them may find a home here.

About Dementures

Journey is a word commonly applied to all sorts of life events and experiences. It’s suitable in many cases, that too for describing dementia, because it is, in fact, a journey.

Moreover is the fact that the impact of dementia is widespread and has a profound effect on those closest to the person living with cognitive decline. From guilt and grief to financial stress and caregiver burnout, dementia is a degenerative disease, and it is merciless.

Although I’ve thought of my experience with Sharon as a journey, it is more like an adventure.

The idea of an adventure might be confusing as it likely paints a fun image for some, but adventures can also be scary, arduous, pain-filled, and full of surprises. Adventures can also bring joy. 

While it is elusive, joy has sprouted in the most surprising places. I am on the lookout, plucking it from wherever I have the good fortune to find it.

–Mel, 2024