‘In sorrow we must go, but not in despair. Behold! we are not bound for ever to the circles of the world, and beyond them is more than memory.’
The other day I wrote to say that on June 7th, 2018 at 6:10pm my life as I knew it changed forever. I couldn’t bring myself to write the words to really tell you what had happened because that was the night my Grandfather passed away after a ten-year battle with Alzheimer’s Disease.
Although we knew that it was coming, especially over the last few weeks and days, it still shocked me and although I sat holding his hand as he passed I couldn’t believe that my Grandad, the one who had always been there, had gone.
With my Dad living in France for most of my life, my Grandad always filled the paternal role and because of that he was a huge part of my life, one that I will be grateful for as long as I live and thereafter as well.
Saying the long goodbye to him over the last ten years has been a hard experience as day after day we’ve watched him lose every memory he’d ever made. Every smile, every laugh, every single memory slowly wiped away.
I so wish that my Grandad could’ve seen the woman I’ve become, all the incredible things that I’ve done, that we’ve done here on this blog and all that still lies ahead. I wish he could see the amazing women that my younger sisters are becoming as well, all the things they’ll go on to do as their lives open up before them.
Alzheimer’s stole all of that from us ten years ago, and it’s been a heart-breaking experience. Throughout it all I have been inspired by the daily strength and courage shown by my Grandmother as she has stood by his side honouring her vows as she watched 62 years of married life be wiped from the memory of her childhood sweetheart.
Today, Tuesday 26th June 2018 at 3pm (the same time this post was scheduled to publish) I’ll be walking into the church to say my final farewell to my amazing Grandad.
If you have followed our Alzheimer’s journey for the last ten years, then you will know that my Grandad served in the Merchant navy for 40 years and so a lot of our experience has been tied in one way or another whether metaphorically or literally to the sea and it is the same for his passing and for my grief.
As I sit here writing this post on Sunday 24th June in preparation for Tuesday I am reminded of Lord of the Rings, as indeed I was the other day when I wrote and told you all of my grief.
I am reminded of the final scene, The Grey Havens, and whilst we’re not at the end of our fellowship in middle earth, here on the shores of the sea we are at the end of our journey through Alzheimer’s.
As I sit in church giving thanks for the life of my Grandad I wanted this post to publish to give thanks to you all, for each and every one of you who has been a part of our Alzheimer’s journey here on And Then Charlotte Said no matter how long you have journeyed with us, I am grateful for you, we’re all grateful for you.
If you’re reading this and your journey with Alzheimer’s continues on I wish you love, courage and strength and I hope that you know that although at times as you battle through this terrible disease it may feel it, you are never alone.
‘I wish it need not have happened in my time,’ said Frodo.
‘So do I,’ said Gandalf, ‘and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.’