The War Has Ended

17 Feb

On 1 August 2021 I wrote:

I know almost everyone else is on about day 62, but here I am posting day 32 of my fisherman smock project.

I started looking after Mum at the very beginning of this year. Within a week I knew something was wrong, and started reading up about early stages of dementia. She ticked every single box. But at that point it wasn’t immediately noticeable unless you knew her well…

She had a phone call with ‘that nice man’ from the Memory Clinic on 29th April and he diagnosed mixed dementia. It came as no surprise to me, but Mum was shocked. I reassured her that she was still the same person, still Mum, that Alzheimer’s was just a word, that we were going to keep making sure she was safe and happy. And that I loved her, whatever.

And all this is true.

Mum needs fulltime professional care now, and although she had always wanted to stay home till the day she died, she has settled into communal living well, not that it’s been terribly communal yet as she’s in covid isolation and not allowed out of her room.

When I saw her today she was annoyed that some of the young ones (the carers) don’t know the war has ended. She was also pleased we could play musical instruments because that saved us from the Nazis. Conversation is no longer straightforward or predictable, but that doesn’t seem to matter as much as I’d have thought. I can piece together some of the jigsaw pieces to make part of a picture. But not all of them. And that’s ok too. She knows I love her whatever.

I moved back home again last weekend, properly here to stay now, after living most of this year in Galloway. I’ll visit Mum at weekends, but not every weekend, and that feels ok too. I know she’s ok, she’s comfortable, she’s being looked after by a team of professionals who can do it so much better than I could.

All I need to do is love her. And she makes that so very easy.

I don’t often share images of Mum publicly, particularly more recent photos. But as I’m recalling the days before and after she got her diagnosis of dementia, I thought you might like to see these three pictures. The first two were taken in the week before her diagnosis, where she looks pretty relaxed. The third one, without a hat, was the day after her diagnosis. She seems so very lost to me. And she was always someone who could instill confidence in the most anxious of people.

As children, Mum told us we could all fly. If we really wanted to. And I have always believed this to be true. Mum told me, so it must be true. It astonished me when I learned (when I was MUCH older) that not everyone is brought up to believe they can fly.

I still can fly. If I really want to. Try it. You probably can too.

During those early months of 2021, when we all knew Mum’s world was unravelling, we talked about being able to fly one day. Mum looked sad, and said that just perhaps she wouldn’t be so good at it any more, perhaps her flying days were over. In my head she still flies, we fly together.

***

This series of posts starts here, with Taking Smock of the Situation, an embroidery project I started after I realised Mum might have dementia. There I was, embroidering her old fisherman’s smock with symbols relating to her life; meanwhile her memories were slipping away, like me at a party I don’t want to be at.

If you feel like a bit of cooking inspiration then you could check out my recipes here. I have some sad looking oranges in the fruit bowl so shall think about making the easy peasy and miraculous Orange and Almond Chocolatey Cake.

One Response to “The War Has Ended”

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  1. Taking Smock of the Situation | Shewolfinthevalley - March 3, 2023

    […] The War has ended […]

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