Paula shares the beautiful story behind her poem, Are You My Memory?

I was privileged to care for a lady called Betty in a previous care home. She was from South Shields and was a very interesting lady. We got quite close, and she allowed me to call her ‘Betty Boo’. This was shortened to ‘Boo’ over time and became her nickname.

One evening, I was helping Boo to get ready for bed. This was the conversation we had;

Boo - “Paula, what’s wrong with me?”

Me - “You have dementia Boo, do you know what          

         that is?”

Boo – “I think so, but will you tell me?”

Me - “You just get a bit forgetful Boo, so we are here

         to look after you, and make sure you’re safe

         and cared for. We remind you about your

         medication and make sure you get food and

         drinks when you want them. If you feel unwell,

         we make sure you see a doctor, and we help you to

         get washed and dressed."

Boo – "That’s ok then Paula, I trust you."

That was my validation that my job had a purpose and this beautiful, interesting lady trusted me to get her through a day safely. I continued to help Boo to wash and change for bed when she suddenly stopped me. She looked me right in the eyes and said to me;

“Paula, are you my memory?”

My heart nearly burst in my chest as I saw the innocent trust in her eyes. I told her I wasn’t her memory, but I would be her friend for as long as she needed me. I knew that one day Boo would need a lot more help as her journey through dementia got to the end. She would be unable to tell me verbally what she wanted, and her ability to mobilise may cease.

You meet a lot of people as you go through your life, but only a few of them will ever make that impact that goes on to become a fond memory.

Boo became a true inspiration to me and the reason behind me writing my poem.

I will never forget that question she asked me as long as I live.

This is for you Boo xx

Are You My Memory?

Are you my memory?

As you give me a drink

As you show me my pictures

And urge me to think

Are you my memory?

As I lie in my bed

As I pray I could tell you

But my words are unsaid

Are you my memory?

As I’m looking around

As I wish I could get up

And stand on the ground

Are you my memory?

As I sit in my chair

As I wonder what happened

Why I ended up there

Are you my memory?

As food time is here

As I’m given my choices

As the forkful comes near

Are you my memory?

As the night draws an end

As you start to undress me

But my body won’t bend

Are you my memory?

As you turn off the light

As my lifetime revisits

While I lie there all night

Am I your memory?

Can you comprehend?

No, I’m not your memory

But I hope I’m your friend