Sitting on the sofa of an evening, the noise of the TV is all that can be heard between my husband Paul, 61, and me. ‘Who’s that?’ he’ll ask at regular intervals, pointing at one of the characters on the screen and breaking the deafening silence between us. It will be a character I’ve explained to him several times already.
Suffering from a rare form of dementia, Paul has changed beyond all recognition and, though it’s been five years since his diagnosis, I’m still trying to come to terms with having lost my husband as I knew him.
After meeting in a pub in 1986, I fell for Paul almost immediately. He was fun, sociable and caring, not to mention the perfect gentleman. And, as we embarked on a relationship, we found we had much in common. We were both career-driven – I was training to be a nurse and Paul was a mechanic – and we both enjoyed travelling.
We married in April 1988, before welcoming our son Darren that August. And when our daughter Megan arrived in June 1990, our little family was complete. Paul was the most caring, hands-on dad and, though he was strict, he always remained calm and never shouted.
Over the years, we created wonderful memories as we enjoyed visits to various parks and zoos, cycling excursions and trips to Gatwick airport where we’d spend hours watching the planes – which was Darren’s favourite thing to do. Even when the kids got older and it was just the two of us, Paul and I loved socialising with friends, going to garden parties and having barbecues in the sun. We holidayed in Cyprus and Croatia, and even spoke about retiring to Spain one day.
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