Re-Issue Coming Soon: Zanussi and Jack – Edna Clyne-Rekhy
Profits from the sale of this book will be donated to ALZHEIMERS SCOTLAND
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The decision to up sticks and move to Spain was a long time coming for Edna and Jack, but the very real risk of their Sutherland home being flooded gave them the final push they needed. After a harrowing journey, they and their two dogs finally arrived in their new home.
They were just beginning to settle into their new life when Edna first began to notice a change in Jack. Small changes at first that were written off with various simple explanations, until events took a more serious turn with Jack losing his temper and becoming uncharacteristically aggressive, and then being unable to recall anything that had happened. When Jack had one of his Alzheimer ‘tantrums’, Edna was often able to calm him by telling him to “put your angry monsters back in the cupboard and be the gentle gentleman you should be”.
It was around this time that he began to lose his temper a lot. Little niggling things would loom very large and he would make a mountain out of a molehill at the slightest excuse. He forgot how to shower himself and kept falling over. He constantly asked me to help him shave and comb his hair. He had always been so totally in control.
At dinnertime Jack asked for more rice. I said there was no more and he could fill up with his dessert. I could see his face get very red and he flew into a temper, shouting and yelling at the top of his voice. Calling me horrible names and I wasn’t fit to be living in his house and I should get out now or he would hit me with his stick.
I managed to wrestle his stick out of his hands and threw it outside. He walked over to the phone to make a phone call, tried to sit down on the chair and fell off the side onto the floor. I tried to help him up and he yelled as loud as he could that I was beating him up. He grabbed my wrist and twisted it. He broke my gold bracelet which had just been repaired by the local jeweller. One of the ivory figurines fell off the sideboard and smashed in three pieces. He also broke a picture frame and continued to yell at the top of his voice while coming towards me menacingly. He was like a wild animal. I pushed him back and he caught me across the top of my arm, which was later covered in a black bruise. I managed to push him on to the couch and rushed outside, shutting the door behind me. I could not believe what had just happened. He was like a wild animal. I was in a state of shock and shaking like a leaf. In all of our marriage, I had never heard Jack swear or use such obscenities. I had trusted him implicitly; he would never have lifted a finger to harm me.
He didn’t follow me outside and I sat on the terrace to try to get over the state I was in. I waited about ten minutes and ventured back into the lounge. He was sitting on the couch with his head in his hands. He suddenly relaxed and started to cry.
“Oh God! I’m so sorry, what happened? I love you; I didn’t mean to hit you.”
I was still shocked and couldn’t reply. I was still shaking all over and tears were streaming down my face.
Puffin and Megan had fled out on to the terrace and were cowering under the marble table. The cats had disappeared. None of them had ever witnessed violence before. At that present moment I just wanted to go away and hide myself. This was domestic cruelty and I had to make sure it didn’t happen again. I sat outside on the terrace, I cried for a long time. I couldn’t stand to be anywhere near him.
I didn’t reply. He eventually appeared round the corner of the terrace and came over to me. He sat down beside me and put his arms round me. He also was crying. I asked him why he was crying and he replied “I can’t remember!!” He appeared to have completely forgotten what had just happened.
Zanussi arrived in their lives in the winter of 2011 after a particularly bad storm and earthquake that resulted in part of their garden dropping nearly 10 meters into their neighbour’s olive groves.
The couple’s springer spaniel drew Edna’s attention away from clearing debris from the earthquake and led her to the washing machine. When she looked inside she found a terrified little dog that was literally trembling with fright and had obviously been seriously neglected and badly beaten.
This small, 3-month-old Spanish Hunting Dog soon settled in with the family. Jack adores Zanussi and the feeling is mutual. He became Jack’s little shadow from then on.
Edna’s book begins with their decision to relocate to Spain and covers their settling-in period and Jacks changing behaviour, as well as plenty of detail of their day-to-day lives.