It’s a question I’m asked a lot. The latest enquiry came from my dental hygienist who never fails to ask after Mum when I visit for my three-monthly scraping. Depending on the timing of the question, I can’t always answer immediately.
I’m very fortunate that so many people, many who’ve never met her, care about Mum…but I still can’t be sure of my answer. How is Mum? Well, that persistent cough frustrates her but she seems content, happy sometimes. We laugh a lot, often without an obvious trigger. We sing, often lustily. Perry Como’s moments remain magical.
I don’t know how Mum really is though. The staff at the care home say she’s content most of the time and she obviously has a lovely rapport with them. I ask her how she is and she smiles and says she’s fine. But even on the rare occasions she was unwell when I was growing up, there was always a smile and a “it’s nothing” to reassure me. Stoical, that’s my Mum.
“Are you happy Mum?”
Sometimes there’s a pause but there’s always a positive response. I’d love to know how Mum really feels. Perhaps I do. Perhaps she doesn’t. Who knows?
It’s one of the abiding aches of dementia for a carer. The communication gap. You hope you’re doing right by your loved one but you can’t always be sure.
So, how is Mum? How do I answer? As well as we can hope for? Content? Both of those, I trust, but thanks for asking. It means a lot.