Looking back it is sometimes too painful to bare.
My dad was my hero, hardworking, a man of honour, brave, kind, and loyal. He was a Glasgow man, a welder and pipe fitter who lead a hard working life. My wee mum the kindest and caring of person loved her family who was also hard working, the hardest working mum in the world and gave to all looking for nothing in return.
I remember I was working away when we got news that dad had Cancer and had nine months to live. That’s when I found out how brave my dad was, all he was concerned about was his wee Joan and children he was so brave and got us through it and absolutely I miss him. I thought mum was going to die of a broken heart but he paved the way for mum to carry on as she had a family to care for, you see that’s what they done they worked hard and gave to all to others.
I loved my parents equally, so why is it when I think of dad although missed dearly I can think of greater times but when I think of my wee mum it often feels like torture. I mentioned earlier how I thought mum would die from a broken heart, what is cruller that or not remembering the reason your heart was broken. Caring for my mum was the greatest and toughest challenge I have ever faced. When caring for mum we both felt so helpless there was never time to think only time to try and survive in many ways and as a result Dementia broke my heart in a way that I may never recover.
My wee mum was being challenged every day in her dignity, awareness, inclusion and the cruelest trick of all her memory of the man she loved, why where we allowed to become so alone and helpless.
My wee mum deserved better, better than I was able to give and that’s what this campaign is about giving people the best advice, guidance and support so they don’t sit like I do tonight still feeling the pain that was part of our lives on so many days. If we change the journey we change the memory.
Dementia does not define my mum as she was magnificent in every way but it broke my heart and dementia does not change the fact that I was the luckiest boy in the world to be Thomas and Joan Whitelaw’s son.
The thing about my wee mum is she would have taken all the dementia and bought it if she thought it would help others. How remarkable to be like that and that’s what I intend to do in any small way I can to make it better for others in memory of a remarkable mum.