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Marian's story

Marian’s husband Graham was diagnosed with dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) at 67. They adapted their home as Graham’s health worsened. When Graham died, Marian turned to us.

Marian and Graham had spent their working lives in the Civil Service. The sense of family they’d felt, returned when we were able to support Marian.

Diagnosis and adaption

A gradual change in Graham’s behaviour led to the first doctor’s appointment.

It started off with not being able to remember routes in the car, then progressed to hallucinations. He’d see things that weren’t there and gradually lost the ability to reason. I wanted to make things better for him but didn’t know how.

As Graham’s condition progressed, he started wondering out of the house into busy roads. The couple felt like they had no choice but to move to a quieter area. They spent the majority of their life savings on house adaptations, essential as Graham’s physical and mental health declined. Marian was determined to make the best of it.

Graham’s ability to cope was getting more difficult. It was therefore more difficult for me too. But when we moved into our new home, we said that whatever’s thrown at us, we’d face together. And that’s what we did.

Further adjustments

Marian and Graham continued to adjust to their new life. Routine played a crucial role. It helped Graham feel safe. When the world went into lockdown, it rocked the sense of security Marian had worked so hard to create.

A structured daily schedule was very important to us. Lockdown meant we were very limited with what we could do. We tried to make the best of it but life suddenly got much harder

Graham developed a chest infection a few months later. A short and stressful period in respite care led to a trip to hospital before a transfer to a nursing home. Graham passed away just a week later, leaving his family in shock. 

I didn’t expect him to die so suddenly. He didn’t deserve to die like he did. It was the worst year of my life. On my birthday, I found an old card from him and put it on the shelf . He would want me to be strong so that’s what I’m trying to do.

Financial support

As she did her best to deal with her grief in isolation, she was also worried about her finances. Marian couldn’t afford to pay for her husband’s funeral. That’s when she decided to give us a call to see if we could help.

I always liked reading the powerful stories in Charity for Civil Servant newsletters . A particular story about a retired civil servant had a profound impact on me. This inspired me to reach out to them myself. I explained my situation and they paid towards Graham’s funeral. I can’t express how much I appreciated it. To have had a lifeline thrown at me like that, meant so much

Removing the fear of falling into debt allowed Marian to focus on her wellbeing, taking each day at a time. Now she wants to share her story and this message.

Both myself and my husband had long careers within the Civil Service. It really felt like a family. For that family to function, we need to be there for each other. That sense of belonging came rushing back when I gave the Charity for Civil Servants a call. Their support has been utterly wonderful. It took my breath away.

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