things happen that just hit me hard.
Yesterday I was busily reading my way through work emails, not thinking about mum at all. Then I opened an email from a bookshop:
"Books for Mothers who love to read"
I just felt myself getting all teary, in an instant it hit home that MY mum, MY mum who LOVED to read, can't read anymore.
It's just unimaginable.....
As a kid growing up I lived in a world of books, imagination and the wonder of a good story. Every evening I would have to do my spelling and read out loud to mum as we cleaned up after the evening meal. She would prop the spelling book on the kitchen window sill and we worked our way through the list. Now spelling was no small matter in our house. My mum was known for marking the mistakes in the local newspaper with texta and sending a copy f the corrected paper back to the editor on more than one occasion!
Mum hasn't been able to spell now for a long time...
After spelling lists came the reading. Her words are etched in my mind " Don't just read it! Pretend you are painting a picture with the words! Make it come alive! " ... and I would return to my reading out loud knowing that I had better create that magnificent, emotional, colourful picture with my words, or I would be reading my homework out loud again until I did. There was no rushing through the reading homework at my place.
I just loved to read, and it was my mother that taught me the joy of books. It opened up world that I otherwise would never have known about. I was a daily visitor at the school library, signing up to be a library monitor as soon as they would have me; staying up until I finished my schooling. I always had my head in a book. And every night I did my reading out loud to Mum, learning how to paint pictures with my words.
When I was 10 years old I started reading the bible readings at church. I have often been told what a beautiful reading voice I have. One of my happiest memories is reading every night out loud to my own children. Reading them the classics, Treasure Island, Lord of The Rings, Banjo Patterson and more. It would never have happened without Mum's influence.
The other thing that happened when I was 10 was that Mum gave me her favourite books that she had kept: Emily of New Moon, Poppy Treloar, The Secret Family, Anne of Green Gables. I still have them, they are in my bedside table, old, well worn and well loved by us both. Emily of New Moon soon became my favourite too.
My mum read her bible every day. She had numerous translations and versions. She didn't just read it, she studied it. I have her first bible she had a child and I have the bible that I remember her reading growing up. It's filled with notes, and comments and cross references, held together with sticky tape.
And now my mum, who has read every day of her adult life, who showed me a world filled with wonders through a love of books and stories, can't read anymore.'
Last week when I was visiting her she was holding a book, as per usual. I asked what she was reading:
"I''m not reading it! If anyone comes, I just open it." and so she opened it, upside down and showed it to me... "See"
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Mum has gone downhill really rapidly in the last 5 weeks. She is out of the happy, placid childlike stage and now mainly worrying, stressed, paranoid and suspicious. She had one day that she was reasonably good on the weekend, she told me she was 11 years old at her last party! But the rest of the time she was stressed.
She has become a bit obsessed with one of the other residents and is now wanting to get married. She talks about him constantly, follows him round and is jealous of anyone who appears to get in the way of her being with him.
Her wandering has become a problem and the decision has been made that she needs to be moved into the locked ward for her own safety. It's not going to be easy, I think she will be quite upset by the move but it has to be done.
Every time I leave I know that I have made the right decision to have her there. She simply is too ill to be kept at home and she is so well looked after there. Even though I know what's in store for her, it just is all happening too fast.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Mum is going down hill fast as far as her dementia goes. She has become much more agitated and annoyed lately. She requires a lot of care and much more assistance with self care.
I have times where I can just can't stand it. It was easier when she was happier, but these last few weeks she is not happy. Sometimes when I'm in the car alone, or in the shower I have a bit of a cry. I just feel so helpless, and I can't be there for her. I feel so angry with the family for the way they have abused and abandoned her, and me!!
I don't even have enough words to describe how this feels... mainly I feel all alone in it. My family are great, but I wish I had siblings that I could share it with. I often feel just like I did when we were kids, and mum lived in an abusive relationship. My siblings split and I spent my childhood years desperately trying to take care of mum, keep her safe, and make her happy. Thats just how this feels a lot of the time. Like I'm a kid fighting something that's just way too powerful for me, putting on a brave front for everyone, but inside, I'm just scared and lonely.