What could he be up to…?

24 Feb

On 4 August 2021 I wrote

What could he be up to now?

#AlwaysMakingSomething #woodworking

Back around that time, a close friend of Mum’s let me know she had been to visit her; she’d had a pretty difficult time with Mum, who was completely out of sorts, being by turns aggressive, then tearful. This was the first sign of what was to become all too regular episodes of Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs). The UTIs generally sent Mum into an unrecognisable place, including paranoia, hallucinations and anger. Fortunately they were relatively quickly ‘fixable’ with antibiotics, but having had a UTI, I know how physically uncomfortable they can be, never mind what it does to your already demented brain. Poor Mum. I just wanted to hold her.

While it was glorious to be back home, and getting on with our own things (him in the woodshed, me generally in the kitchen), part of me was still living through Mum’s world. I phoned her every day, generally in the early evening, before she went to bed. The calls were absolutely a habit I had developed after Dad had died. In fact I remember on the day after Dad’s funeral as I said goodbye to Mum, before heading back up the road, that I would call her that evening. And we both laughed and agreed that we would NOT get into the habit of a call every evening, as that was Not A Good Thing. But we did get into that habit. And it was undoubtedly A Very Good Thing for those years. The calls to Mum after she moved into the home were, initially, some sort of a comfort to me (and I think to Mum as well), but could be very random. In time, I didn’t always look forward to them, and some months ago now I stopped phoning her altogether – the act of trying to make conversation seemed to be distressing for her, and I would often be in tears after the call ended.

Having moved home to our own lives, my brother and I agreed that really we only needed to visit at weekends, that Mum would have wanted us to live our own lives. And we recognised that while visits were good, Mum really wasn’t always that conscious of when and whether we were visiting.

Looking back, it feels now as though she was far more aware then than we gave her credit for. Or certainly far more aware than she is now. We didn’t know then how her illness would develop, at what speed, or how much things could change, how much a brain can stop functioning in the way we expect it to, and yet continue to keep the basics going – the breathing, the regular heart beat, extracting nutrients from food and then getting rid of what it doesn’t need. All those bits still work. And love. Mum is still capable of love.


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.

Or if you feel like a bit of cooking inspiration then you could check out my recipes here.

One Response to “What could he be up to…?”


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

    […] What could he be up to? […]


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