If you met my mum now, you'd see a slender statuesque, somewhat stooped 80-something. She always looks good in her fashionable, casual clothes; her accessories match, her feet wear Rockport, her hair is well-cut and she pops a bit of lippy on before she goes out.
If you met my mum now, as I keep explaining in a slightly hysterical voice, to anyone who'll listen, you'd meet a smiling, solicitous, wide-eyed woman. She'd lean in close and encourage you. She'd want to know who you are, where you're from and what you do. I really think you'd like her.
But don't leave her presence, even for ten minutes. Because upon your return I could introduce you again and you could reenact the entire scenario. Mum, having completely forgotten you, wouldn't find it repetitious or strange because it would be completely new to her. If I mentioned you enough, dropped you into several conversations, told her a few of your exploits, it might sink in. But then again.
Mum's rich fabric of memory is wearing thin, fraying, and that's very hard to live with.
It's an extremely complex situation, as you can imagine. I'm not coping very well with having my mum living at ours.
In another post, I compared living with my aged mum to having pre-school children. But it's more taxing than that. There's a lot of joy in raising your kids - well, at least for a few minutes a day. They're learning, and you go and look at them while they're sleeping and you're filled with love.
I'm not finding any joy in my current situation, other than the idea that I'm saving my mum from being in some sort of supported care with others with 'memory loss'. My head hurts and I'm even more of an insomniac. I went out without any emergency glucose today because I'm not thinking straight - I have Type 1 diabetes. Happily I didn't need it.
Basically, I'm in my mother's service except when she's sleeping or when I'm at work. I bounce out of the door on my three working days looking forward to some respite, but unfortunately I don't get that because I'm a secondary teacher and I need to put the educational and emotional needs of my kids above my own.
While I'm writing this I can hear Al chopping veges in the kitchen whilst chatting, apparently happily, with mum. She's explaining to him that she doesn't want to be a burden and that there are plenty of other places she can go. I wish she'd go into the lounge and watch TV so I could write in peace.
On my right I have about 300ml of chardonnay.
As I've said many times, chardonnay helps. Mum enjoys it too. Oils the wheels of human endeavour.