Saturday, 30 August 2014

Introducing... E and Me

It's Saturday morning. The work week’s over and today's the day I visit my mum. Every weekend. And every time I arrive, my mother is surprised and delighted to see me. She's as excited as a small child, wobbly and a little teary. Every week, a special reunion.

Mum has a diary. When she first moved to the rest home she referred to it constantly. It was crammed with appointments, clippings and lists. And scrawled across the pages were questions for herself. “Que faire?”, she'd write in her schoolgirl French. Or “Must talk to the doctor!” Or the heartbreaking, “I can't go on.”

When I found the unfamiliar NFV acronym scrawled across the pages, I asked her what it meant. “ No Family Visit”, she said. I couldn't think of a single thing to say.

Now Mum’s diary is mostly blank, others write in appointments but she can't remember to check it.

She’s spotted my car from her armchair in the dayroom and raced along the hall. By the time I arrive she’s waiting in the foyer.

Darling, how lovely that you've come! What day is it?
It's Saturday.
You should be with your family!
You are my family, Mum.
Tell me dear, what day is it?

My mother's in her mid-80s. Depending on who I'm talking to, she’s Mum, Nanny or E. Mum’s has been living in a rest home for four and a half years. She has dementia, probably of the Alzheimer's type.

So, today’s the day I visit my mum. What to do?
Most of the time Mum lives completely in the moment.
With a bit of time-travelling on the side.
We could do anything.

The world’s our oyster.

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