My name is Sarah Stoner. I am a wife, working mother of 3, sister, friend and daughter. My life and that of all my family has been turned upside down by the recent diagnosis of my mum’s vascular dementia. This is my way of coping – dumping my thoughts and experiences down – and of trying to help others who may find themselves in a similar situation…..A bloody horrible, evil, despicable and shitty situation.

My mum is 65 and was 64 last year when she was diagnosed with early on-set vascular dementia. Now, that would have meant nothing to me more than 12 months ago. I’d have been sympathetic but would have dismissed this as an old person’s disease…bound to give me and my family a wide berth. After all, my mum was young, fit, fun, competent and confident. She was the vice lady captain of a large golf club. She taught ballroom dancing every week to young couples in her local village. She held dinner parties for friends and family. She was a brilliant seamstress and made all the blinds and curtains that have adorned the windows in my last three houses. She was fearless (apart from large horses, water, boats and flying) and would think nothing of jumping in the car and driving 200 miles from her home in Scotland to visit me or my brother or sister, usually to help us decorate, make blinds or curtains or to help with the children. Everything was do-able with my mum. I’d call and ask her advice on everything from making soup to whether I was still in love with the boy from school (she said of course I was, don’t be so ridiculous and we’ve been together ever since).

This is the lady I am now missing dreadfully. Physically she’s still there and for a few fleeting seconds when Dad puts her on the phone each day, it is so easy to believe that she is “her” again. But then the delusions start, the rambling and whispering about men in the house, about children eating all the food, about wanting to “go home”, about men wanting to rape her. I thought dementia was losing your memory, was about being forgetful and not recognizing family and friends, but gradually over time. I had no idea that it came with a whole host of other utterly devastating symptoms; delusions, hallucinations, anger, anxiety and fear, sadness, melancholy and a deep deep depression that has engulfed her and means some days she can hardly open her eyes. So, not only has my mum – the lady whose laugh could stop traffic and whose naughty twinkly smile was so infectious – got all these terrible things to deal with, but she no longer knows my Dad the man who has loved her since they were 17.

It’s a bloody shitty thing this dementia. It makes me so sad sometimes it feels like a heavy weight on my lungs, making it hard to breath and then within minutes we can all be laughing about the absurdity of what is happening, the comical side to this very dreadful disease.

So, this blog is dedicated to my amazing mum and my wonderful dad who is doing his best to cope in a terrible situation. I hope it brings amusement  to some and help or support to others who may need it. Sometimes it’s just nice to know that you’re not in it alone.


10 thoughts on “About

  1. Oh what to say… this is a beautifully written, succinct tiny window into something no one can ever understand unless they’re living it I guess. You sound like an amazing family, much like my own and I cannot fathom how I would cope if this happened to me. Reading around the subject is so confusing and frightening and so little still is known about this disease that at times it must seem hopeless.
    I am a friend of your sister Emma and what makes me cry with an equal measure of sympathy and hope is that to someone like me who never knew your mum it sounds like that heroine you describe IS Emma. Although there will be a long road of struggle ahead for the four of you, you should take huge comfort in that all those things you miss about her are carrying on through you and her grandchildren. This I’m sure, mum as she was, and mum now from time to time is enormously proud x


  2. Hi Sarah,

    Love your words, I to can relate to all you are saying, my mum also was diagnosed last year at the age of 70 years with Alzheimers and vascular dementia, she had been misdiagnosis for many years with depression which I never believed she had…it’s devastated our family and although I have never been very close to my mum it’s heartbreaking to know that I will never now get that chance, but nobody deserves this disease it’s truly horrid…my mum was an amazingly intelligent strong healthy caring lady, worked in the RAF in her younger days where she travelled the world and loved life to the full, she now talks about those days like they were yesterday….
    If I could have just one wish in the world at the moment it would be to find a cure for this horrible illness so we could have our mum, nana back and my dad could have his soul mate back to spend what should be a happy retirement with.


  3. That is so beautifully written sweetheart. A Blog is a perfect way to talk without talking.
    I found this after Hartley.
    Although we’ve never spoken about your mum, you have a little seat in my heart and I think about you often….


  4. This breaks my heart. I remember your mum as being so vibrant and full of love and life … She put me to shame on the dance floor! But I will cherish the memories of how welcoming and kind she always was, along with the rest of your amazing family. And you know even though we don’t see eachother often enough, I’m always here for you bird. If you just want to rant, need a hug or just want to talk about the weather …always here xxx
    Big love to you all x


  5. Hi Sarah I’m currently having the pleasure helping looking after your mum, whilst your dad has a wee break. I noticed when I was looking through your mum’s notes about your blog. Reading this has helped give me a better understanding of your mum before this awful nasty illness took over. It’s always nice to read about their life. Thank you and keep it up. X


    1. Thank you so much for your message, Ann. I find my blog helps me cope and I am told it helps other who are on this journey too. I hope my mum is behaving herself? I miss her dreadfully.
      Sarah x


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