I was asked yesterday about happy memories of times with Mum. It should be simple to respond. A question of what to leave out rather than what to include. And yet, it isn’t. The question confirmed what I’ve been aware of for some time. I’m losing touch with Mum BD – Before Dementia.
I have no trouble conjuring up positive images of my father who died nearly seven years ago. It’s because he left us suddenly and so the Dad I knew remains in his prime, the memories vivid and colourful.
But Mum? Those memories are increasingly harder to access and when I do search for one, it often feels as if it’s in black and white. One dimensional. Like the films Dad loved to watch on a Sunday afternoon, the memories belong to a time long lost.
I don’t want to think of Mum as she is today, barely knowing the smiling son who spends most of his time trying to make her laugh. And, though I say so myself, I’m quite successful. A chorus sung out of key, an Eric Morecambe-like fumble with my glasses and I can guarantee a few chuckles, maybe the odd guffaw. Don’t get me wrong – those moments are precious but I don’t store them away. Why would I?
That’s another thing I hate about dementia. It takes away the person you love and then it starts on the memories as well.