Oh no, he’s on about music again. Can’t he write about something else in his blog?
Well, yes I can and do but as music is so often how I connect with Mum in a meaningful way, it’s natural that it often features here.
The title of this post comes from a song Mum and I sang together on Tuesday when I called in to see her. I remember watching the film of The King and I with Mum when I was a child. She loved the music and would sing or hum along. When I made a playlist on my phone for Mum and I to enjoy, I included several songs from musicals and Getting to Know You was one. It’s a song in which she needs little prompting and as we sang on Tuesday, I thought about the words:
Getting to know you,
Getting to know all about you.
Getting to like you,
Getting to hope you like me.
(Publisher: Williamson Music. Songwriters: Oscar Hammerstein II and Richard Rodgers)
Hardly the most profound lyric in the history of popular music but despite having known Mum for almost 50 years, I am getting to know a different Mum in 2014. It’s a Mum who still knows and loves me, even though sometimes it can take a heartbeat or two for her to place the face. Never mind. On Tuesday, she told one of the residents:
“He’s my son.”
My heart leapt. Later, as we looked at some photos, she didn’t seem to recognise my Dad (heart sinks back) but then she pointed and identified Pam, her cousin. Knowing Mum today is not taking anything for granted, not underestimating but not expecting either. It’s a new relationship, one in which we smile and laugh a lot, usually when we sing.
Getting to know the person, not the dementia, might seem obvious but it’s easy to be sucked into talking about the condition rather than the human living with it. As they say, when you know one person with dementia, you know one person with dementia.
The Mum I’m getting to know now might not be the Mum I grew up with but….she’s still my
c.20th Century Fox.