Those words cried out to me when I read them this morning. They come from the latest post from Kate Swaffer – http://kateswaffer.com/2015/09/07/dementia-and-love/ which I’m linking to here. Read it if you have time. No-one articulates what it’s like to live with dementia better.
Those words stayed with me and were in my head when I called in to see Mum. I heard those words when I woke her and received this response when I asked if I could sit with her:
“If you want to,” came the grumpiest of grumpy replies.
I’ve often spoken of Mum being content but, if I’m honest, I’m no longer sure that’s the case. She seems to have retreated from the world, happier on her own with her eyes closed. She acknowledged what I told her but it was a vacant acknowledgement. She was sitting next to me (how could I have resisted her invitation!) but she wasn’t with me. And none of it is her fault.
But then, as I always do, I turned to music. The opening bars of Oh What a Beautiful Mornin’ brought the faintest of smiles and then she began to sing along with Gordon MacRae. Not for the first time, I found myself wondering why she knows “The corn is as high as an elephant’s eye…”* but can’t remember the name of her 51 year old son sitting next to her.
We sang together and smiled, and then it was time for me to leave.
“I love you Mum,” I took her hand. “You’ll always be my Mum.”
And though she can no longer respond in words, her eyes – expressionless until that moment – sparkled for a few seconds. Love 1 Dementia 0.
Thank you Kate Swaffer for your timely reminder this morning.
*Oh What a Beautiful Morning, from the musical Oklahoma. Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, music by Richard Rodgers. 1943