This campaign is based on the life stories thoughts and opinions of people and there are a few reasons why I both collect and believe in them, the stories collected to date have been part in much awareness dialogue with Government Local authorities including motions at councils and report by SW departments, They have been the heart and soul of many talks across the care sector ,Universities colleges ,carer centers and beyond
All if which I feel are important and in their own way helping raise both awareness and understanding .all the afore mentioned are based on our lives in our words. More importantly I collect life stories because our lives matter .
My mum like to many others was to often was viewed upon as just a wee woman with dementia and all that had gone before forgotten or ignored the greatness of her life given to little value ,time or discussion and that fills me with great sadness .If we use only the journey of dementia as a starting point ,then how can we truly help or understand the best way to interact ,encourage and allow people the respect dignity and time they deserve .so life stories I HOPE help tell the whole story and help show the impact dementia has on many people lives .if we understand the impact then we understand best how to limit it and give families the best support to love ,cherish and succeed
A letter changed my life
My personal reason for collecting letters and life stories is the fact a letter changed my life .Before coming back to Glasgow to visit my mum a visit that ended with my mums diagnosis of dementia and the beginning of a five year struggle to understand and cope .My then long term girlfriend and I had Just split up in fact I was coming home for mum to put her arms round me as she had done so many time before and made things betters .For the first time I had to truly put my arms round mum as she was in more need of help and support than I was .Both my girlfriend and I traveled constantly with our work and for the last years together and in so many ways my girlfriend tried to tell / discuss with me how things had to change ,how we were getting older ,how we never spent time together, along with settling down and children. The more she tried to discuss lour future the less I heard .the more she shouted ,whispered even in the most intimate of discussions the less I heard I always seemed to avoid a discussion after all I was happy I was traveling ,having a great time and always used the same avoidance I am just home or I when I get home in 3 months we will fix things .I got away with this for too long
.On my last journey away ,I was going to America for 3 months I opened my suitcase on arrival and inside founds a letter ,a letter that broke my heart but a letter that showed the impact my actions ,my inability to listen ,me selfishness and many other actions where having on someone’s life. Someone I loved, someone who gave me so many chances and tried in so many others ways to ask me to just listen or try and understand and on reading that letter I understood more about myself than I have had before and she was right I was affecting and holding back her chance to live the best she could
So a Letter changed my life, that’s my personal reason for believing in and collecting them I hope to take them to all who need to read them to try and help them understand how the actions of others can have such and impact on lives and the actions of others can also change lives for the better and to truly help someone you have to take time to listen and understand them
You can share your story at tommy.whitelaw@alliance-Scotland.org.uk