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'The Waiting Gate', due to be published October 2017 by Hashtag Press, is the second novel featuring psychic medium Alex Kelburn the first being 'Flight of the Kingfisher'. This story deals with the impact of dementia on individuals and their families, friends and carers.
Rainstones House is a fictional place where one wing is a hospice and the other a residential dementia care home. The hospice scenes are from my own experience of being a volunteer Companion at a local hospice a few years ago. I occasionally assisted in the Day Patient Unit, but the main role of a Companion entailed visiting a patient with a life-limiting illness at their own home. I was assigned to a delightful elderly lady, many years a widow, whose life expectancy was about one year due to cancer. When I started visiting her she was a lively person, who liked to be smartly turned out and who was happy to tell me about her life and enjoyed our conversations and debates on all sorts of topics. Of course she was frail and the physical changes in her over the months I visited were all too apparent, but then I noticed mental changes too. These were so rapid it seemed that one week she was the lady who looked forward to my visits and the next she seemed not to know me at all. She kept asking who I was and if she owed me money. I knew to answer her questions each time as if it was the first time she’d asked me, and she seemed to accept it for a few minutes before asking me again. All too soon she was bed bound and the lady I had known had completely disappeared. I found myself wondering: ‘where has she gone’? I was not sad when she died, for she had told me early on in our acquaintance that she knew she would be joining her husband, and she was looking forward to dancing with him again.
I never forgot her and as the idea for The Waiting Gate began to take shape in my mind, I knew that my experience with her was the trigger-point. Through extensive research I learned of some intriguing and wonderful theories about what might happen to us when the mind no longer functions but the body goes on living.