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The Long Goodbye Of Dementia



Every day it seems that my wife Sylvia is taking a step closer to the grave. Her dementia is crippling her body as it has already her mind. It is  a cruel cross we carry but what cross has ever been kind?

chaos photoI think of myself now quite experienced with the sorrows of dementia. I know the stages. At first it was simple memory loss. My wife would call me at work confused as to where she was. She couldn’t follow simple instructions as to how to return to her place of work.

Eventually Sylvia’s mind began to play tricks on her. She would hide things. Her cheese plates were on thing. She would put them away and then forget where she put them. In a frantic search she would go looking everywhere for her beloved trinkets. Worse yet was her  handling of her purse. That contained important cards of documentation. I wanted to take control of her purse but she wouldn’t let me. I found a solution which is to make sure her cell phone was in the purse. When it was missing I would simply call the phone and search the house for where it was ringing. When this didn’t work I got quite agitated and frustrated.

Sylvia then drifted out of reality to the point she couldn’t understand basic reality. Her mind took her back to her days in Grenada. She was constantly looking for St. Paul’s in Grenada. As such she would wonder out of the house in a frantic search. When she came to her senses she would call me on the phone. I would then come and pick her up with my care. But sure enough as soon as she got out of the car she was back looking for Grenada.

At this time the police became involved with our problem. They would either find Sylvia or some concerned citizen would call the police. At first it was a great hassle explaining the situation and what was going on. As time progressed the police got to know us. So instead of a ten minute cross examination they simply turned Sylvia over to my custody. During this time period a ride in the car placated Sylvia. So we would drive all over the state of New Jersey sometimes over two hundred miles in a day.

Sylvia eventually gave in and began to see a psychiatrist. At this time she gave up her wanderings. I thank God for that as she got to the point where she couldn’t read the names on the street signs. Then she digressed even more and couldn’t even answer the phone. If she didn’t give up her wanderings I didn’t know what I could do.

Now Sylvia would rather stay at home. For a while she would walk around but her back got crooked making her walking very precarious. I couldn’t forbid her from walking so the best I could do was to keep a watchful eye on her. She fell a few times during this period. It got to the point where I couldn’t let her walk unaided. However she would have the habit of getting out of bed and trying to walk. To remedy this I would have her sit on the couch to sleep. As I slept I would put my legs over her so she was trapped. She couldn’t get up without moving my legs which would awaken me, at least most of the time.

Now fortunately we have a hospital bed with railings which prohibits her moving. Her walking is much worse and I have to carry her to the shower. All of this puts a tremendous strain on my back. Still I made a promise to her and I intend to keep it.

All in all the silver lining so to speak is my writing. Since I can’t work a regular job I dedicate my time to writing. I would never have had the courage to quit a regular job and simply write as I do now. I have said goodbye to Sylvia poetically in my book Sunset Sonnets.

The Long Goodbye Of Dementia

John Kaniecki

John Kaniecki is a full-time caregiver for his wife Sylvia. He is a published writer and works with the Church of Christ. John has lived with bipolar for over thirty years and has been hospitalized nine times, three of which were committed. John has chronicled his life story in his memoirs "More Than The Madness". Also of note is John's book of poetry "Murmurings Of A Mad Man" which are poems written about being committed in Graystone Psychiatric Hospital. John believes in the power of words to change the world for the better. His website can be seen here. His books can be seen on Amazon. You can visit his personal blog "Turn A Page Or Two" here.

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APA Reference
Kaniecki, J. (2018). The Long Goodbye Of Dementia. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 20, 2019, from


Last updated: 2 Feb 2018
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