If anybody wants to purchase a paper copy of the book, they can either message me on here, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also order one from Waterstones or major book outlets and from the library. (All Nottingham libraries stock copies) Alternatively, but a signed copy directly from me on eBay. Look for the sale now on – at https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/192944495497?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1555.l2648 – reduced. Do message me an inscription you wish me to write and sign in the inside cover.
Dawn Fanshawe lives in Nottingham, England where she grew up and lived until she was 19. She then worked for two years in Germany as an Au Pair, before doing a degree in Education and Art in London. For 15 years Dawn was as an Early Years Teacher / Foundation-Stage Manager in London. Dawn remains passionate about education and was a School Governor for over 20 years and a County Governor for the NHS in Nottinghamshire.
As a student, she worked as a care assistant in many Elderly & Mentally Infirm homes across London, and in 2006 she brought her mother – who was at the time living on a remote island in the Orkney Isles and had early onset Alzheimer’s Disease – to live with her in her new family home in Nottingham. At this point Dawn became her mother’s full-time carer which was to turn her life around in so many ways.
Contact with mental illness has been integral to Dawn’s life and relationships; as a child she suffered abuse at the hands of her parents and this had long-reaching implications for herself. Dealing with the challenge of caring for her mother as she became more and more incapacitated by dementia has been a big part of her own journey of healing, forgiveness and self-discovery.
More recently Dawn ran her own photography business in Nottingham and is a trustee for a Nottinghamshire charity looking to help disadvantaged families and children in her neighbourhood; she was also actively involved in the NHS Involvement Strategy.
Mostly her weeks now consist of charity and voluntary work, in the community, with all ages from the babies to the elderly. She enjoys her grown up family and the new grandchildren and is (still) writing another book.
A key part of Dawn’s life is her Christian faith and her active involvement within her local church community. Dawn’s other passions include learning and speaking languages, travelling, reading, writing, photography and gardening. Dawn’s mission is to become fully the person she was created to be and feels she is on a life-time adventure of healing, loving and seeking to become the change she wants to see in the world. She feels blessed with her family, friends and the community around her.
Dawn also now has a You Tube Channel as a forum for sharing audio books. She has begun with a reading of the whole book of 1 Corinthians, translated by Colin Urquhart, and accompanied with a slide show of images of the Apostle Paul, his journeys and the city of Corinth itself.
All poems Copyright of dawnfanshawe, unless otherwise stated.
About The Book – Lost Down Memory Lane – (Book Series One category here)
Who is this book for?
It’s for anyone with an interest in caring or dementia – or in dysfunctional relationships.
Why did I publish this book?
I began writing this book almost as a diary. It was called “Another Morning”, as most mornings I would record the interesting things that my mother, in the middle stages of Alzheimer’s, had been saying and doing. It was useful to me as information to update my sister, who had Power of Attorney. I also found it useful to write, in order to process the emotions, memories and thoughts that were being triggered in me, whilst caring for my mum.
However, I decided to publish it, because, as Mum’s dementia progressed, I began to see that my experiences could support other carers. The written account described and reflected upon the various behaviours over my mother’s progressive stages of dementia and also her needs, habits and difficulties. We had also tried and found many solutions to these challenges.
As a carer, there were many other issues and decisions that had to be faced. These included the social, medical, emotional, and practical issues of being a carer as well as the beauty, the “funny-side” of Alzheimer’s and the effects on family dynamics.
On reflection, it would have been very useful to me to have been able to think about and talk through some of these issues in advance, so that I could have made more informed, balanced choices and not agonised so much over the decisions for which I had become responsible.
I wanted to share this journey in solidarity with other carers – to encourage, support, forewarn and empathise, and to say – “You’re not alone.” “Be proud of the amazing job you’re doing.”
I also wanted to highlight the hope and rewards of love in this caring journey and the frequent humour – Like the time she mistook a stranger in the chip shop for one of us and chased him around the pillars, grinning “I’m going to gobble you up!”
I don’t tell you how to be a carer. I made many mistakes. But I did the best I could with the resources I found available to me.
I wanted to say to other carers, “Look after yourself!” – You cannot expect to do it all by yourself, without seriously endangering your own quality of life and health, so delegate and share responsibility and find whatever support services are available to you.
The book points to the sort of support services which I found available to us and which made the task of caring more manageable. Some of these more practical suggestions are also condensed in the Appendix.
This is a personal, humorous, gritty and practical story, told day-to-day from my perspective. But, it is not simply about caring or dementia, it also has a moving and compelling back-story, about the damage caused by my schizophrenic father.
The book is called Lost Down Memory Lane (not just because of the play on the idiom of memory loss and dementia) but because part of my experience of switching roles and caring for my mother when she became sick, was a release of those memories and secrets, that became the start of my own deeper healing journey. The truth shall set you free!
Orkney Life before and with Dementia…
My mother lived over 20 years on the island of Graemsay in Orkney, in a home called “Clett”. My father died there in 1995 and within years, in her 50s, my mother – Avril – was diagnosed with Early-Onset Alzheimer’s. Cared for for many years by a gracious community in the island she loved. Included among my poems are a few by A.R., who was a good friend to my mum and also earlier to my dad on Graemsay. His poems are Copyright A.R.