My wife, Pauline, died from Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 59. She was 51 when diagnosed after several years of problems. I cared for her at home. For the first 3 years, I maintained my employment, albeit on an increasingly part-time basis, but resigned from work and cared for her full-time for 5 years when her needs demanded round-the-clock attention. She remained in her own home to within 5 weeks of her death, when fracturing my leg put paid to my direct caring role.
The article was originally written along with two or three others as a result of a commission from Suffolk Carers for their magazine. This was some time before Pauline’s death. In ‘Sharing’, I tried to encapsulate the story of our marriage and the effect that Alzheimer’s disease had had on that relationship. However, the writing took over from the concept and it became too much of a personal statement about us for me to be happy about it being read by others while Pauline was still alive but unable to contribute, so I didn’t offer it for publication but filed it away. I think the writing was, in any case, a sort of much-needed therapy for me at that time.
Philip Ingram July 2003