Mum was in a bit of a grumpy mood when I visited or, given it’s Black Country Day and Mum’s ancestors came from that part of the world, she was “franzy”. Heather let me in and told me Mum was refusing to get up from the dining table after lunch.
“Janice,” she called as we approached.
“What?” came the gruff response.
“Look who it is.”
Mum looked as if she was chewing on a particularly annoying wasp:
“Oh I might have known”, she grumped, when she saw me. But then, a smile and all seemed a little better in Mum’s world.
I’d taken a copy of Country Life magazine in the hope that she might enjoy looking at the photos of five million pound houses for sale. I’m not sure the word austerity is often mentioned in Country Life’s editorial meetings. If we’re all in this together, someone has given them a lovely, fat exemption pass. But I digress. We had fun looking at the pictures and decided to buy a property near Bath for a shade over three million pounds. We’d always wanted quarters for domestic staff and a stable block so this was ideal.
Mum seemed to enjoy flicking through the magazine but when we tried to have a conversation about anything else, words failed her. She spoke, but what she said made no sense and I think she realised it, tailing off and looking away.
Words. We take them for granted but for so many people with dementia, the ability to help us understand their world through the spoken word is beyond them.
Despite this, I couldn’t let my visit go by without telling Mum that on July 14th 1962, she and Dad were married.
“It’s your 53rd wedding anniversary Mum.”
I’m not sure she understood what I was saying. For her, it was only words.