2/05/22 Dad travels to Ken Johnson’s memorial service.

2/05/22 Dad travels to Ken Johnson's memorial service.

Dad has been part of Winster Morris Dances since we moved to Winster in the very early 1980's. Winster Morris is a traditional team which uniquely has 4 characters. Dad was the witch, a position I have inherited. There is a Jester and finally a King and Queen. Ken Johnson was the Queen. He sadly passed away. Ken's story in Winster Morris is documented on the Winster Morris website

Remembering: Ken Johnson

Mum and I both wanted to attend the memorial, and felt it was important for Dad to come too. It is easier to let Dad know within minutes of taking him anywhere, this reduces the anxiety. He knows that something is happening since Mum is dressed in her musicians outfit, and I am incognito as Winster Witch. When we explain what is happening the questions start:

Where we are going. Do we have enough petrol. How long will we be. Do they know we are coming. Will we get back in time (not sure what we need to be back on time for).

These run on a loop for the whole journey to Hasland, Chesterfield. Dad is in the front so he can see where he is going. We answer all his questions without getting frustrated that we are saying the same thing over and over again. We try to distract him by pointing out landscapes and locations that he has known all his life.

When we arrive we are very fortunate that we were able to park straight away. I hold Dad's hand into the hall. He doesn't like the noise at all, and is overwhelmed by all the people. We find a corner to sit in. Mum has given him an anxiety tablet. Winster Morris is doing a spot first so we don't have long for me to get my glitter on. I have help from a friend, Dad watches. He is not sure about the “stuff on my face”. He never was happy abou

t makeup.

His anxiety increases so much that Mum and I wonder if we should go. Mum is singing a spot. I sit with Dad while Mum sings. At this point, since she can see her, he settles down to listen and sings along with her.

Then Winster Morris are on. Mum sits with Dad while I do Witching stuff. Every now and again I come over to see Dad and he messes with the broomstick. It is totally amazing how the music and watching the Dancing calms him down. In his own way he is joining in. His recollection maybe very patchy, however he does connect with emotions and music. Music and singing was never Dad

's strong suit. He was tone deaf, and had a rhythm that was unique to himself. However it now provides a calming and emotional link that is so important.

After the Winster Morris spot there is some food. Dad likes food too. He is like a hobbit with food. He also collects all the bits of paper on the table to put in his pocket. I am thinking he is as much a

 “Tasslehoff Burrfoot” as a Hobbit. And that's a reference to google.

I want to thank those who came up to say hello to Dad. He might not be able to recall names, lets face it he was never good at names! But he has an emotional memory. He knows that he knew you and is pleased to see you. All you need to do is say “hello” and introduce yourself. He can't remember my name half the time, so telling him your name is important. And then maybe how you know him. Or about something that is in the here and now. Dad is a model of mindfullness and living in the moment. Over his sandwich munching he tells me how the floor is getting

further and further away”

Of course this makes sense, since it is getting harder and harder for Dad to reach the floor.

There are so many people here that Mum hasn't seen in an age. She would like to stay. Dad has eaten and decided that it was time to go home. Here begins the campaign to explain that Mum would stay here, Dad and I would go home and do a jigsaw. He is not sure. Would Mum know the way home? Did I know where Dad lived? How would she get home? He is not happy about it at all.

I finally take his hand and get him to the car, as 

we are walking he doesn't mention Mum at all, asks about the petrol and if I knew where he lived and who was I anyway. I settle him in the car. He seems happy. As I turn round there is Mum.

I can't leave him” She says. I tell her to get back to the hall. While he doesn't see you he is happy enough. Now Mum is not sure!

Dad and I travel home with the normal barrage of questions. At home the first thing he insists on doing is washing that stuff off my face. He really didn't like me wearing makeup!

We then check the house to make sure that Mum is not hiding anywhere. When he is sure she is not in the house, he is still fairly unperturbed, I pick a jigsaw. Now we have a problem, he doesn't want that one, he wants a train one. I have done all the train ones soooo often, the one I pick I haven't done before. I stick to my guns, we are doing this one. Dad moans a bit. He doesn't mention Mum, only that we are doing the wrong jigsaw. He is so absorbed in this He doesn't notice that Mum has arrived until she is in the door. He tells her we have the wrong jigsaw, that is should be a train. Thanks Dad.