Dementia – “It’s Fine!”

It’s Easter. My kids now have a whole shelf of my pantry dedicated to their chocolate stash. Hubby and I are throwing handfuls of the stuff down our throats whenever we go in the kitchen. The weather has, so far been glorious and we have spent days by the river, days in the garden pulling up weeds and potting new perennials and days where the kids have been out playing with the neighbours all day.

It has been an Easter of dreams.

Last week I went up to see Dad and The Crazy. My sister was also there, and our old childhood friend came up too, with her two kids. My dad said it was fine for us all to descend. And it was. It was a fabulous few days, but it was busy, loud and made all the more challenging because of my sister’s extraordinarily large 1-year old Labrador Bertie and my dad’s youngest dog, Tilly. One has not yet had the snip, the other was in the midst of her first “season”.

The sentence, “Oh God! Where’s the big dog?” will for some time continue to unleash a wild panic in me and make me set off around my own house in search of a canine coupling!

My sister and I had a day together before Lovely Liz arrived. I have named her Lovely Liz as it best describes her easily, without me waxing lyrical about her strength and her valuable friendship to both my sister and I, over the years. She has known my parents since she was at school with my sister, so she truly knows them.  She knows and loves my dad and his eccentricities.

She knows my mum.

She knew my mum.

She is amazing but I prefer alliteration, so she is Lovely Liz.

We climbed a mountain. I exaggerate only slightly. If it is not classed as a mountain, then it bloody well should be. My sister, her kids (aged 3 and 6) and my three (aged 12, 10 and 5), along with my Dad, one frustrated, randy dog and one cross dog (because her pal was left at home because of the continual unwanted sexual pestering) decided to scale the biggest hill we could find. It took a few hours and we got wind and sun-burnt and Dad almost lost his balance a few times, but we survived.

kids up broughton

I knew Mum used to have all sorts of creams in her wardrobe, so I went in search of some Savlon or something to help with my kids’ dry, wind-burnt skin and chapped lips.

And I found it.

Her almost empty wardrobe.

It took me by surprise.

“Yes, I thought I’d give away lot of her old clothes that she’s not going to wear again, “Dad told me. “There was a collection a few weeks ago by the local school.”

I told him it was fine.

He told me that he’d kept all her nice clothes for us to keep – her dancing dresses, coats and going-out clothes, in case we wanted any of them.

I told him it was fine.

He told me it was only her golfing clothes he’d given away. Nothing else.

I told him it was fine.

He asked me if I wanted her old winter coat that was still hanging under the stairs along with his coats and hats.

I told him it was fine.

I then told my sister. She looked at me and we both shared a moment. A look. A shared sadness. A reminder that life wasn’t going to just go back to what it once was, despite my inner child thinking that this might all be just a horrible nightmare.

Together, over a glass of wine, we agreed that it was fine.

And, it is fine. It is absolutely fine. What use are my mother’s clothes all hanging in a wardrobe when she is never going to wear them again? They could be raising money for the local school or going to people who need them. It is simply one of those moments that presents itself to you and you either crumble or you take a breath, accept it and carry on as best you can.

The next day, Dad came downstairs with Mum’s old jewellery boxes.

“Have a look in there and see if there’s anything you’d like,” he told us.

Bloody hell!

Throughout our few days, we laughed a lot, we shouted at the too-many children a lot and we cried a little. This is better than some visits, so we are on the up! Lovely Liz found the visit to see The Crazy quite difficult. The reality of the situation is harsh and it is incredibly emotional to see a once strong, independent woman you remember being fierce and ….. well, just human, simply hunched in a chair unable to walk, talk coherently or recognise anyone who loves her.

Mum easter 2019

Mum’s nasal hair had grown out of control. Dad told me he kept trying to pluck it but she flinched every time. “No shit?!” I remarked, wincing myself at the thought.

I told him to buy something off Amazon to whizz off the thick hair so she can at least breath through her nose again.

He has.

He whipped his own off first and then headed up to sort her out.

I asked him how it went.

“Oh, it was fine.”

Of course it was.

easter 2019.jpg

I miss you, Mum x


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