Poppies and lavender and goodbyes


Mum seemed different today. A little more confused and she kept saying “I feel lost”. As always she was happy to see us and liked the idea of going out. Getting her to walk and get in and out of the car was a little harder. Sometimes its like she forgets what she’s supposed to do with her legs or how to move. Another loss from dementia. Her memory was poor today too. Often that means she’s had a bad night, but that wasn’t the case today.

Over lunch at the garden centre she was confused about how to eat. We have realised that a whole portion is far too much so today we had 2 dinners and an extra plate between the three of us. T shared a piece of salmon, some chips and a few peas, a carrot slice and a spoonful of cabbage with Mum. We provide a selection of cutlery. Knife and fork, dessert spoon, teaspoons and lots of paper napkins. 2 cups for her coffee, because a full one is too heavy to hold. She likes a cappuccino, I think mostly for the froth and the chocolate sprinkling on top. Today she said, ” I’d just like someone to feed me”. This was new. It took both T and I aback a little, though I don’t think we show it. She put her hand on my knee as I helped feed Mum with a teaspoon. Another step on this journey of endings.

Later we took Mum for a drive. Endings are hard for her, and sometimes its hard for us to manage. She doesn’t like goodbyes. We stopped at the park by the lake where we could sit in the car and watch the geese and ducks and a solitary swan. mum liked seeing the small children running and playing on the path in front of us. A young mum went by with a baby in a buggy, ” Oh its a long time since we were doing that isn’t it?” she said wistfully.

I took a risk and asked mum if she remembered the hall stand she used to have in the hall. instantly she remembered it. I asked her where it had come from. “My Grandmother”, she said and ‘Have you got it now?. I told her I would put it in our hall and that made her happy. Sometimes those long-term memories are fresh as daisies. We bought a glass vase with some  paper poppies in. They reminded Mum of the house she used to live in with my Dad before they moved near to us. The house was next to a field and along the boundary between their house and the field they grew blowsy red poppies interspersed with huge, falling over plants of lavender.

Every day like this I wonder if this means the end is coming. I think she wonders that too.



4 responses »

  1. the poppies are still there i see them when i drive past.give your mum my love, she may remember me and my frequent visits to your bed sit in their house Hob Hey Lane and having drink confiscated on the doorstep when you had a party at 16 or 17.I remember your mum teaching us a hymn at i think culcheth junior school- Oh jesus i have promised—- and she instructed us to count to eight -as the music started before bursting into song.whenever i hear that hymn i always have to count to eight!

  2. Oh Julia – I feel your pain, I carry it within me from my Mother’s decline and it cuts really deeply. Your post is so moving. It will get harder, much harder and there is no easy way to prepare for it. Enjoy these small moments of clarity as they happen and hold these beautiful memories in your heart. You will need them in the days to come. Sobbing and sending love to you all. xxx

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