I read a sentence which really resonated with me today. It came from the latest from Pippa Kelly who writes so powerfully about dementia.
“Dementia, when it comes, doesn’t exist in a vacuum, or even in one person, but in the messy, tangled busyness of everyday family life.” c. http://www.pippakelly.co.uk
The blog post is called The Blame Game and focusses on the guilt carers from the family too often feel. It sat uppermost in my mind when I went to visit Mum a few hours later. I woke her gently when I arrived and stayed with her for about 45 minutes. For some of the time, Mum had her eyes closed. Sleep might have claimed her again although she was nodding her heard so I think she was what my father used to describe as “resting the eyes.” Still, I wonder whether I could be doing more to hold that elusive connection.
When she was with me, we looked at some photographs. Mum, it seems, has trouble recognising herself these days. When I asked her if she recognised the person in this photo,
she responded: “Is it you?”
Later, another photo prompted the same response:
I was happier to be mistaken for her, if I’m honest.
Fortunately, Mum seems to enjoy these games and isn’t perturbed by her failure to name the people she’s looking at. So, we laughed and, some time later, I said goodbye, telling her that I love her, that she’s still my Mum, that I’ll see her again soon….as I always do. But the familiar feeling of guilt was hand in hand with me as I went out.
And though the laughter stays with me, so does the look on Mum’s face as I turned back to smile at her as I left: The quizzical look that says “Who was that person who’s just been with me?”