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Sitting in the home, i always had a strong longing for the world outside, where people were living a normal life, talking about haircuts or holidays and not staring death in the face. Invariably, i would long to leave as soon as Id arrived. Dad was on a locked ward, a safety precaution necessary for people with advanced dementia who wouldnt be able to find their way back if they wandered out. As Sir Ian said, i believe that my father would rather have thrown himself off a cliff than end up like he did. But while i can empathise with why ian Botham didn't want to see his father - formerly an officer in the navy and a fine sportsman - in such a state, it also seems to me he behaved like the proverbial ostrich sticking his head. While it is peculiarly painful to witness such terrible things happening to someone you love, having them go on somewhere else without you seems almost worse. Sorrow: Rebecca hopes her father sensed her presence in his dying moments and knew he was loved I can't imagine relaxing at night with a drink, knowing that my father was dying somewhere and I'd decided never to see him again. He was my parent.

Even a six-month-old would have had greater comprehension of what's going on because at least a baby knows when to eat.'. My dad was the same. Not long after entering the care home he, too, became doubly incontinent and needed assistance to eat, a grotesque parody of babyhood with none of its charms. He couldn't concentrate long enough to watch television and would spend his time sitting in an armchair staring into space, or walking unsteadily along the corridors, ranting at anyone he passed. Pregnant, and with a toddler to look after, i was only able to go down from London every few weeks, while my two younger sisters and mother visited twice weekly, but each time i left with more bitter memories than the last. Hard times: But Rebecca continued to visit her father in hospital, even though she national suspected he didn't recognise her because of his dementia. Like the time that Dad became distressed because he had soiled himself and sobbed, thin fingers plucking at his sodden trousers. Or the time he gripped my hands and - without seemingly having any idea of who i was - begged that I take him away from there. 'let's just go somewhere else he said pleadingly, milky eyes meeting mine. Or the occasion I took him meringues, previously his favourite treat, and he grimly ate them all, white dust down his T-shirt, without a shred of enjoyment.

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He lost his driving licence and had to move from his remote house into a smaller property in the nearest town. And, just like the botham family, we tried to keep him in a home environment by dissertation bringing in full-time carers. That lasted until early 2012 when he had another of the mini-strokes that are a feature of vascular dementia. His condition worsened and he was taken to hospital, before being moved to a specialist care home. I can't imagine relaxing at night with a drink, knowing that my father was dying somewhere and I'd decided never to see him again, it's at this point that Sir Ian's and my shared journeys diverge. 'by the end, my dad was as near to a zombie as you can imagine said Sir Ian. 'he had no control of his bodily functions, no idea who my mum was.

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Part of me couldn't comprehend that my invulnerable father was crumbling. He had always been a man at the centre of things, running a successful business and building a boat in his spare time, which he dreamed of sailing around the world. As a child, it was impossible to imagine anything he couldn't. Every summer, he fished for mackerel and when my parents wanted to add an extension to their house, he built it himself with Cornish granite, a rock as strong as he'd always seemed. Almost five years later, it remains a comfort that in September 2009, about a year after he started to become ill, my father was able to walk me down the aisle and give me away. I'll never forget having him there on that day, in the clifftop church we used to walk to together when I was a little girl. But not long afterwards, things fell apart. I still don't know exactly what happened, but he caused a scene in the doctor's surgery and finally the diagnosis we'd all dreaded came.

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But when i asked him if he fancied pizza or pasta he looked at me with a puzzled frown before asking: 'What's a pizza?'. Family matters: Sir Ian Botham in his younger days with his mother Marie, and father Les, who suffered from Alzheimer's. Even after that, it was a long and difficult road to diagnosis. Ever charming, my father even managed to convince a consultant neurologist who made a home visit that he was fine, making him tea and regaling him with stories about life in the remote but beautiful spot where he lived, patching over the gaps in his. I still don't know how he pulled it off. To all his family it was evident he was confused, but the consultant left saying he seemed.

Dad would who spend his days driving his car - increasingly erratically - around winding Cornish lanes and repeatedly visiting the police station, telling them something was. They treated him kindly and would ring a family member to say what was happening. I think he knew something was desperately wrong and wanted someone in charge to take control. And at night, he would wreak destruction in the seaside cottage thesis where he had lived alone since his separation from my mother over a decade earlier; taking doors off their hinges, dismantling electrical appliances, leaving aggressive voicemails for various family members. Difficult decision: The cricketer admitted he didn't visit his father in his final days as he didn't want his memory of him to be distorted by his illness. Working in London, i'd worry about my father hundreds of miles away. But i admit I'd try to escape from thinking about it, too, burying myself in planning my wedding and stressing over colour charts and bridesmaid's dresses rather than grappling with more painful questions.

When i asked him if he fancied pizza or pasta he looked at me with a puzzled frown before asking: 'What's a pizza?'. While les Botham suffered from Alzheimer's, my father had vascular dementia, the second most common form of the disease. With Alzheimer's, brain cells die when the chemistry and structure of the brain change, while vascular dementia is caused by a problem with the supply of blood to the brain. But symptoms are common and the manner in which Les Botham declined sounds painfully familiar. They both became increasingly vague as they entered their mid-70s, without it being obvious that anything more sinister than old age was afoot. And just like les Botham, my dad's initial visits to the gp, after he started to do vague things such as lose his car, didnt yield a diagnosis.

Sir Ian spoke about it becoming clear that his father was suffering from more than the odd 'senior moment' when they were on a green at yeovil Golf Club. 'my dad seemed fine, but as he stood over the ball, he turned to me and asked: "What do i do now?" with genuine bafflement. The man taught me to play golf when I was three, but he had forgotten how to play.'. In my own case, a similarly tragi-comic moment came in early 2009, not long after we first urged Dad to visit his. I drove down to his home in Cornwall from London and we went out to an Italian restaurant for dinner. I had been looking forward to catching up with my mercurial, intelligent father who had always loved me so much.

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In a way, i laud the brutal honesty of his admission. Normally people talk about dementia in almost reverential tones, skirting over the daily horror of what it involves. But I fundamentally disagree with his decision. Proud: Rebecca with her father on her wedding day, a year after he had started to become ill. Once someone you love develops dementia, heartbreak is already a reality and your memories are compromised. Do you want to compound that by wallpaper abandoning them? Sir Ian also made sure his son, two daughters and five grandchildren stayed away, too. He even urged his mother to do the same, but she couldn't bring herself to turn her back on her husband.

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There were many times I wanted to turn around as I pulled into the plan car park outside dad's care home. And the feeling wouldn't go away as i entered the forbidding Victorian building, with its strip lighting and muffled screams. I knew what I was going to encounter would be horrific. But not go at all? That would have felt like - apologies to sir Ian - the coward's way out. The cricket star said he didn't see his father for the last six months of his life as he didnt want his memory of his dad 'to be distorted by the illness that had robbed him of himself'. Sir Ian was speaking about his father's death from Alzheimer's in 2005 to support National Dementia week.

his elegant clothes from the past; the smart navy jumpers and shoes he took pride in keeping polished. And I hated the smell of the place; mashed potato with a faint undertow of urine. There wasn't a single thing about the experience i enjoyed. What's more, i'm fairly clear in my mind that, for almost the entire year before his death last October, dad had absolutely no idea who i was. But it didn't dawn on me, even for a second, not. Which is why, when I read this week about Sir Ian Botham's decision not to visit his father when he was slowly dying from dementia in hospital, i was stunned. It had simply never occurred to me that there was a choice. Don't get me wrong.

Published: 22:24 bst, updated: 02:33 bst, he looked like my father. Thinner, yes, but with the same long limbs, dark brown hair and distinctive nose. But as he lifted his face to look at me, it was clear that the man slumped in the armchair bore scant relation to the parent I had once known. His hazel eyes were blank, without so much as a flicker of recognition and his mouth gaped in a way that would have horrified the proud, fiery man who raised. Yet on that visit - as on many others - i sat down next to him, resigned to the fact that spending an hour with him in his dementia care hippie home would provide painful testimony to how far the disease had destroyed him. I hated spoon-feeding him a mushed-up lunch, as you would feed a baby. I hated the incoherent words he shouted out at his long-suffering care workers as they passed.

At the end of Act 3, Scene 3, why didn't, hamlet

Why do so many children abandon parents in their darkest hour? After Sir Ian Botham writing admits he didn't visit his dementia-stricken father, one writer asks the painful question. Rebecca ley's father suffered from dementia. She stood by him till the end, even when he didn't seem to recognise her. But Ian Botham said he didn't visit his dad when he had Alzheimer's. He didn't want to see him when he'd lost his mind. Wanted to remember him as he was in his prime.

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