‘My dear Jack – before I met you my life seemed like a train pulling a trail of empty carriages, and then there you were, and suddenly most of them were full – with people and noise and laughter, with faith and vision and your extraordinary, electric vitality.
‘So now, my love, I know the worst. Your brain is shrinking inside your skull. You are going to disintegrate very slowly, mind and body. You will feel our loving in rags and your God absent and I will hold you to my breast and cradle the shell of your skull, for you will have gone, my lover, my dear one. But not quite.
‘I know that I cannot bear the pain of Jack’s situation any longer, unrelieved. To survive and provide him with the buoyant atmosphere he wants, I have to have hopes and horizons beyond him. These horizons have included another person.’
When Rebecca de Saintonge’s husband Jack developed Lewy Body Dementia - an incurable degenerative brain disease - she faced the dual challenge of trying to keep the integrity of their relationship intact while also avoiding her own destruction within their diminishing world. She survived by taking a lover.
Through extracts from Rebecca’s journal, One Yellow Door explores the conflicting emotions and complex ethics of infidelity in marriage where one partner is severely disabled. It is about a re-thinking of traditional faith and the discovery of a new, deeper spirituality, and ultimately about the indestructibility of love.
Rebecca de Saintonge is a writer, journalist and co-founder of LifeLines Press. She lives in East Sussex.
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