Before I went into work today I took Papou to the bank for Yiayia, so he could withdraw their pension. As is usual now, the excursion was one of awkward confusion as Papou now insists on only speaking Greek to me (although his English was fine when he spoke to the teller…). I could confidently respond to about 5% of his questions or statements. The rest of the time I would reply with something generic like “I guess so” or “Come on, Papou”. Or a complete change of subject: “Hang on – I want to get some flowers”; “Check it out! There are musicians over there!”; “Wait up, I’m looking for my keys”. Or a half-smile.
But then on the way home there was one authentic non-linguistic moment of connection. We whistled along to the Cat Empire together. And then we laughed at each other. And then we kept whistling until we got home. It was kind of cool.
Dementia is so strange. Every now and then there are lovely moments of sharing and connecting. But even with those moments I just wish it didn’t exist.