‘It’s such a cruel illness’


Every day, Tommy Whitelaw realises afresh just how pointlessly cruel dementia can be.

It happened again just today. He has dug out some old photographs of his parents. Their marriage lasted 40 happy years, until Tommy senior’s death from cancer. He was the only boyfriend, the only husband, Joan ever had. But now, as she gazes at the photographs, she cannot recognise the man she loved. And her son, in despair, has a little cry for her.

“I can remember why my mum loved my dad,” he says. “But my mum can’t remember the man she loved. It just brought it home to me again, how cruel this illness is.”

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