When Dominic Sivyer’s beloved grandpa Tom was diagnosed with dementia, the entire family struggled to cope with the diagnosis. When Dominic’s parents separated when he was young, Tom stepped in and filled the empty space his father left behind. Dominic filmed his family as they navigated Tom’s progressing illness, but I don’t think he expected the twists and turns.
The person most affected by Tom’s dementia was Pam, his wife of 50 years. As his condition worsened, Tom would often lose his temper and at times he would be verbally abusive to Pam, aka Nan. Tom was eventually taken to the psychiatric hospital against his will and sectioned under the UK’s Mental Health Act.
Once Tom was separated from Pam for the first time in five decades, he felt more confused than ever. “Have you put me in here?” he asked her. “No. They sectioned you,” she replied. “You weren’t taking care of yourself.”
Tom wanted out of the mental ward, but taking care of him was too difficult for Pam to bear. Dominic’s Aunt Becky agreed to take him in. Her goal was to help Tom manage his anger issues so he could go back to Pam, but Tom tried to convince himself they’d fallen out of love.
Pam decided to move out of her home and into a retirement community to gain emotional support. She, too, tried telling herself she didn’t love her husband anymore.
As time passed, Tom and Pam realized they were just kidding themselves. One day, he called her in tears and said his illness and subsequent distance between them was tearing him apart.
“This isn’t the end of our story,” Pam said to herself. “It can’t be.”
The turn of events that followed was truly incredible.
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