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Mary Irvine: Off To Warmer Climes after completion of People Living With Alzheimers Project

Mary Alzheimers Book Launch

A short piece before I fly off to warmer climes for four weeks. I do have a return ticket this time…

Successful End of a Long Haul – Leven Litts Writers of Alexandria, 'People Living with Alzheimers'

Some thirty stalwarts braved the inclement weather last Tuesday, (2 February, 2016)  to attend the final event of a year-long project by the Leven Litts Writers of Alexandria. The project aimed at producing material for people living with Alzheimer’s. Designed to stimulate lost or deep-seated memories the project comprised three sections. The books and images had already been distributed. Now the third component was ready.

seasons

The evening began with poems being read by Evelyn Lawrie and Catriona Malan. The poems demonstrated not only the pain of seeing a loved one slowly slipping away from you but also the catharsis of writing down your feelings, even though you may never share them with anyone. 

We recently invited speakers working in various areas of caring for people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

One lady whose husband is now in long-term care commented on the description ‘a long goodbye’, often used in connection with the diagnosis.

“I said ‘Goodbye’ to my husband many months ago. This is a lingering death.” Evelyn’s poem expresses very well how insidious Alzheimer’s is.

Like a Thief in the Night

Like a thief in the night you came,
silent, unnoticed, and then stealing
something more precious than gold.
It is difficult to explain.
Oh how cruel you are.

Your aim to kill my daily thoughts,
no longer hidden from me,
robbing my mind, day by day.
Skills gone, plain for all to see.
Oh how cruel you are.

Frustration, anger controlling me, I lash out,
hurting people loved dearly.
Do they understand my feelings, I doubt.
Confused I cannot think clearly.
Oh how cruel you are.

I need my family, I need you near,
to comfort and re-assure me.
My waking hours, they cause me fear
that my whole world will disappear.
Oh how cruel you are.

Evelyn Lawrie

The poems were followed by the showing of a DVD produced by the Dumbarton Cine Video &Digital Club. Many contributed to this DVD - photographers, musicians, composers, writers - but especial thanks must go to Robert Kyle and his grandson, David, who put ‘it’ all together and produced a truly professional end product. Excerpts from the DVD will be shown by the club in the near future at the Wednesday afternoon archive showings at the Concorde. This dvd is being distributed to care homes in the Dunbartonshire area.

ryan irvine.jpg The evening ended with a buffet of cheeses, salmon, venison salami, olives, pickles and fruit accompanied by non-alcoholic wines. The buffet was again served by the knowledgeable and charming Ryan from the George Mewes Cheese Shop.

The event took place in the library where the writers meet every Wednesday, 1.30pm - 3.30pm. Grateful thanks are extended once more to Claire and all her staff and support, not only with this project but on a weekly basis.

It has truly been a long haul but well worth it.

We are now working on ‘feelie’ bags to utilise the sensory to evoke memories. Then we shall tackle the sense of smell… It’s all go!

(Hope you have a lovely, and well deserved, break, Mary. Congratulations on a wonderful project. Pat x)

Mary Irvine: A blog from Greece, March, 2016.
Mary Irvine: Relaxing at the Carrick Spa
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One response to “Mary Irvine: Off To Warmer Climes after completion of People Living With Alzheimers Project”

  1. Diane Earl says:

    Your project is wonderful. Congratulations

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Publisher of Pat’s Guide to Glasgow West End; the community guide to the West End of Glasgow. Fiction and non-fiction writer.

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