Moments

When a loved one succumbs to dementia, you know there are certain moments which are inevitable.  The moment she or he can’t lived at home any longer;  the moment when any meaningful conversation ceases; the moment she or he doesn’t recognise you; the moment when engagement, any engagement, is merely fleeting.

We’ve reached and passed all those moments with Mum and this week, it feels like we’ve turned another corner. Mum isn’t well at the moment – and I’m not talking about dementia here. Her appetite, so healthy until the last few weeks, seems to have disappeared. In an hour and a half this morning, she ate one small square of toast. She will still drink her coffee but as the day unfolds, persuading her to drink anything becomes a challenge too.

Up to about a month ago, I could always raise a smile from her when I arrived. Today, she looked up briefly and looked down again straight away. I stayed with her for more than an hour and there were some shared moments, mostly musical. When Doris Day whose Que Sera Sera seems increasingly appropriate, sang the question:

“Will we have rainbows day after day?”

Mum, head down, eyes closed, piped up:

“I hope not.”

She’s tired, and I don’t mean sleepy though she spends a lot of time asleep these days. No, Mum seems tired of this whole dementia thing. I think she’s had enough. I hate thinking that, I hate writing it but I’m sure it’s true. Mum has been living with a dementia diagnosis for seven years and she was probably dealing with the onset for at least a couple of years before that.

So, she’s had enough. I said as much to Mum’s GP when he called to see her. His empathy suggested he agrees though she remains, appetite-apart, in pretty robust health. Should that change, there might be another moment soon – the moment when it’s suggested that she goes into hospital but we’ve pre-empted that. Mum will stay in the care home, with familiar smiling faces and her second family, the staff who love her and who’ve cared for her so well to this point.

There might not be too many ‘moments’ left but Mum’s well being has never been more important.

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9 Responses to Moments

  1. Sue says:

    Just tead uour latest post to my parents. So very sad to see this. Awful for you all. Terrible gor your lovely Mum. Thinking of you all. With love from us sll in Blaenpant xxx

  2. Anne C says:

    Duncan and Mary, thinking of you so much. So sad reading this. Hugs to you both, love Anne xx

  3. Amanda Morton-King says:

    This is such a difficult journey for everyone. My Mother is permanently mobile and recognised me on my last visit but was quite incapable of understanding or speech. We are blessed that she has the funds to pay for excellent loving care (mainly Phillipino and Polish nurses) but I have already told my children I will never allow my life to replicate my Mothers, and if they really love me, they shouldn’t expect it. Very hard at this point to get past these last memories in order to focus on all the happy years before them.

  4. Gurdial Singh says:

    Oh Duncan, that was a sad read, but for you living through it, it must be so difficult.
    Sending you hugs and wishing strength for you.
    Best Regards,

    Gurdial Singh

    Engagement Officer

    The Albion Foundation

    The Albion Foundation HQ

    Ford Street

    Smethwick

    B67 7QY

    Mob: 07966227030

    Tel: 00 44 0871 271 9840

    Fax: 00 44 0871 271 9841

    Web: http://www.thealbionfoundation.co.uk

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    The Albion Foundation, Ford Street, Smethwick, West Midlands B67 7QY Tel: 0871 271 9840.

  5. dfclanntair says:

    Hi Duncan,
    It feels almost ridiculous to say that I enjoy reading your posts – I do feel your experience and positivity, value your insight and wonder how you and your Mum are doing. I’m so sorry to read that it’s been a tough time recently and as I don’t usually send messages, I just wanted you to know that I’m here and I read your words and that it’s not an empty void that you are expressing these feelings towards. I hope that you feel supported by the people who read and sit with you across the screens. I’m thinking of you both and sending love.
    Paula x

    • Thank you Paula. Your words mean a lot. I started the blog as a means of trying to come to terms with my own emotions but it has become so much more than that. Sharing experiences and feelings can be a source of strength and in the world on dementia, we all need that. Thank you again for taking the time to send the message. Duncan x

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