Listening to last night’s episode of the Archers was a reminder of how dementia really affects those involved. In a beautifully touching scene in which June Spencer delivered a heartfelt monologue – inspired by the loss of her husband – as Peggy faced up to the prospect of losing Jack for a second time. As his dementia really took hold, the man that was Jack Wooley was lost to Peggy. The man she loved – and still does – was gone, leaving only a shell who had no idea of who Peggy was. It must be the saddest part of dementia that involves the partner/loved ones of the “victim” basically losing their loved one mentally, only to go through it again when they finally pass away.
The scene rescued last night’s episode which involved the tawdry scene between Rob Titchner & Helen Archer. Their acting like a couple of lustful teenagers was in stark contrast to the scene with Peggy and Jack. It seemed that Peggy’s intuition served her well, and her return to the Laurels was timely. It sounded like Peggy gave Jack one last moment of lucidity. It really did sound like Peggy knew the end had come, and her last kiss goodbye to Jack brought a lump to the throat. Staying to hold his hand had the air of finality, and the episode ending to a few seconds of silence was telling. We’ll find out in the next episode of The Archers if Jack has gone or not, but if he has, it would give Peggy a sense of closure at last. Interesting that its her favoured grandson, Tom, that’s waiting to take her home. She loves her son & daughters of course, but if the end has come for Jack, Tom is the perfect person to be there for Peggy when she most needs comfort.
This issue is also bedded in reality for us. Jane’s aunt suffers from dementia, and was moved to a home 3 years ago, when doctors thought she had six months to live. She is still with us, but has no recollection at all of how Jane’s uncle is. To all intents and purposes, she is lost to him, but he’ll have to go through it again when she does pass away. Its cruel beyond belief. One can only hope that medical research will find an answer to dementia and stop the suffering, both real and fictional.