Sometimes you laugh, sometimes you cry and sometimes you do both.

This week’s article is inspired by our own company, Cumbria Newspapers and Newsquest, which is backing Dementia Month.

The photos you will find on these pages are possibly not the most exciting we have ever shown but you can almost guarantee that every one of them probably has a back story that we don’t know.

It could be my story and that of my husband Ian, who has given me permission to write about our last few years.

We’ve been together for 53 years and married for 51.

He has always been fit. He loved walking and worked outdoors for most of his life, whether planting trees,doing carpentry work or keeping100 square miles of road safe in all weathers.

He had barely had a sick day in his life until I once told him I thought he had flu, which turned out to be a near-fatal perforated bowel and peritonitis!

Around about four years ago he started shaking a bit and saw a doctor who recognised, by his walk of all things, that he had Parkinson’s Disease.

It seems to hae progressed quickly and, with it, the onset of dementia.

Our lives have completely changed. I had been a workaholic, loving my job. Now I am anxious all the time. Like many, I have worked from home since lockdown which means facing constant interruptions, dealing with exhaustion and trying to keep it all together.

Ian, who has always supported me is now the one who needs support. He makes constant demands and has lost all sense of time. To him “just a sec” means wait three hours. He wakens at night, frightened by his dreams and confused by what is a dream, He can watch Lingo and solve an anagram but then can’t remember where he is or what we are doing. The man I married has all but disappeared, although we do still get glimpses that keep us going.

Newsquest has given me the chance to say thank you to the carers, to the surrogate family and friends in Maryport and Flimby, to my sister in Scotland and to our own grown up kids in Rwanda and New Zealand who are always just a hone call away.

And to all of you going through the same thing- these photos show us we are not alone.