This photograph was taken a couple of years ago. It’s possibly the last I have of Mum in a garden, throughout life her second home, and her cousin Pam. Mum and Pam were close and for Pam, Mum’s creeping (then galloping) dementia was a source of deep and enduring pain. In the 1980s, when less was understood and even less accepted about dementia, Pam had lost her father to the disease. For a couple of years, she lived alone with him, in a house they had shared since the death of her mother in the early 1970s. Every day, Cecil – Pam’s father – would tell Pam he wanted to go home. Pam would look down, shaking her head slowly as she talked about it. She had lived through it once and although she didn’t see Mum too often in later years, Pam’s distress was sometimes beyond words.
Last week, at the age of 90, Pam passed away. Her mind remained razor-sharp until the end but her body betrayed her. Unable to walk beyond a few steps since breaking both her legs last Christmas, crippled by osteoporosis, Pam would often muse about whether it was better to lose control of your body or your mind. She had seen the latter, at very close hand, twice but her spirit remained indomitable, until almost the very last.
Thanks for understanding Pam. I’ll miss you.