In my last blog about Emma, I wrote about the sensory experience I had set up in her room, and here I will update you on the impact it has had as I have been implementing the changes.
On one of my recent visits to see Emma, I found her lying in bed. The room was quite dark as it was a very overcast day. It was one of those dark gloomy winter days where you just yearn for the first hint of spring as the darkness seems everlasting. I thought it would be a perfect time to use the projector light that I had recently purchased. I had been trying to use it for a while but without much luck – but I was determined not to give up.
I turned on the light to a green colour, and the room burst into a warm shade of dappled green. It rippled and danced across the ceiling, and it felt like I was sheltering under the canopy of a large tree with leaves rustling above. I turned on the cd with the sounds of the garden, and it felt like Emma’s room had burst into life. It was like summer had arrived and you could almost feel the warmth of the sun on your face. Emma just gazed at the ceiling, completely mesmerised. I knelt down next to her and placed my head on her pillow, so we were both watching the display above us and sharing this moment together, and we giggled like young schoolchildren.
“It must be nearly summer, look at my flowers,” she said, pointing over at one of the walls. We held hands, and she frequently raised her hand to kiss mine. She was very vocal, but I could not really understand what she was saying. I just repeated the words that I did understand, so she knew that I was really listening intently to what she had to say. Her beautiful blue eyes just sparkled!
I hope that she felt as though she was back in the garden that she had loved so dearly. I spoke of the lavender that her grandmother used to grow and how she would spend her summers running around that garden with her brother Paul. Emma smiled and pointed to the other wall. “Paul,” she said and smiled.
I watched Emma as she gazed up at the ceiling. Her eyes were heavy, and I could tell that she was fighting to stay awake. She had the most beautiful smile on her face and sighed a sigh of contentment and peace – she slowly closed her eyes.
I will never forget those moving moments, even though they did not last that long. That look of such contentment and peace is something I will never forget. My heart melted and it brought a tear to my eye; I was so thankful for the light bringing us this experience that we shared together, the peace that it had brought Emma, and that complete look of wonder on her face.
I sometimes think of Emma’s dementia as a fog, where I am searching for her in the mist – some days, I can reach out to her and we find each other, but other days we can’t quite meet up. Then there are days like this one, where the fog has settled for a while, and I can see her clearly. The point is that she is always there for me to find, but it’s just hard to see her sometimes. I will never give up searching, as I know that she is still there. When we have moments such as this, it reinforces my belief that she is not truly lost to me and nor will she ever be.