Lying in bed this morning, wondering whether I should concede defeat in the unequal contest with sleep or try to focus on my flittering thoughts, I found myself back at the family home. Visiting from London, I’d sometimes stay an extra night with Mum and Dad before hitting the road early to return to work. I’d always insist that Mum didn’t get up to see me off before six. She’d always insist that she would and while I was pottering over a cup of tea and a bowl of cereal, I’d hear her coming down the stairs. How ordinary those events seemed then, how inevitable; how special they seem now, wrapped in the warm glow of a memory.
Why these thoughts should enter my mind this morning I don’t know, except that I’ve recently been reflecting, unwillingly, that Mum is now two distinctly different people to me. This blog is called She’s Still My Mum and I’ve no intention in changing that, but I have to admit that it’s getting harder to link the Mum of memory to the Mum I visit today. I knew the first Mum as well as I knew anyone. I know the second Mum, I feel I know her well, and yet I don’t know her at all. Damn you dementia.
Perhaps it’s the proximity of Christmas which prompts such thoughts. It was always my favourite time of the year. Whether it was my father’s unabating quotations from Dickens’ A Christmas Carol – “Why, it’s old Fezziwig” – 0r Mum’s meticulous planning, Christmas was very special, an event. This year, as every year, the memories will be with me.
This week, I’ll take a bunch of Christmas cards with me when I visit Mum. For a couple of years after her diagnosis, we’d write cards together. Now, (I hope) she’ll watch as I write them. Whether it means something, anything, to her I don’t know, but I’ll do it anyway.
I have wonderful memories of Christmases past. I hope that, somewhere inside, Mum has too.