Today would have been mum’s birthday- the horrendous months of May and June seem a lifetime away and life has moved on. It hasn’t moved on for dad who is struggling without her. I still think ‘I’ll just ring mum’ then remember I can’t. Ive just had a text from my cousin saying ‘thinking of you’ – it’s these little things that matter. We all support each other. We are going together to take flowers but having Tommy with us will help. Mum never met Layla- jane but I’m sure she’s smiling at both her and Tommy. A strange day but time to think about what is important- off to take my gorgeous Tommy D out for breakfast now x
I ordered some brilliant postcards from Moo – love the quality – and this postcard was at the front – kind of sums up Tommy x
None of us know what the future holds. None of us know how our lives will pan out. I’m sure there are times when you look back and say ‘if only’. Mum’s dementia caused lots of ‘if only’ moments. ‘If only she could have told us how she felt, if she understood why we had to have her placed into care, if she forgave us, if only. We agonised about her treatment and even after her death we all had to cope with varying degrees of confusion and guilt.
Then dad found a letter that mum had written in 1996 to myself and my brother just after her own mum had to go into care. I cannot begin to tell you how powerful that letter was. Not least because it was my real mum talking and not the empty shell that had been created by the dementia. She loved us, she told us when her time came that she knew we would do the right thing and all that she asked was that we stay close to one another.
It put so much into perspective and although lots of tears have been shed it has helped to begin the healing process. So I will write to my son and my grandson and put the letters somewhere safe. I don’t want them to think ‘if only’. x
This is just a snapshot of the board behind my desk – it has mum in the middle and my family around – I just hadn’t realised x
It’s a strange time at the minute and one where we are coping with a range of emotions. We interred mum’s ashes this morning and said our goodbyes once again. It felt very odd, a small wooden casket, two lots of workmen a council officer and a funeral director. Mum’s final resting place is elegant marble and bedecked with beautiful flowers – it gives us somewhere to go to remember her.
I’m still struggling though and have spent the last few weeks in a bubble not knowing how I feel. Friends have been amazing and helped me ‘through’ but I still can’t seem to grasp that mum is finally gone. I’ve been reading ‘Elizabeth is missing’ and the daughter could have been modelled on me – I got cross, I rolled my eyes, I clenched my hands when mum asked me the same question for the umpteenth time. I’m not proud of myself, I should have been more patient but dementia is relentless and pushes you to breaking point so that you can no longer relax or let yourself be you for fear of what you might say.
There was some relief when mum died – she was no longer suffering but neither were we, dementia is an illness which alters the whole family not just the sufferer.
I’m trying to remember the things mum taught me and the fact that she made me what I am today. We always had to ‘remember our manners’, politeness and kindness were important. Family was everything and you were there for one another no matter what – mum saw me through miscarriages, divorces, the death of my eldest son, house moves, job changes – no matter what she was always there – if not in person at the end of the phone.
She is coming back to me slowly and I understand (with the help of wise friends) I can’t force this – it will happen but it’s like I have two mums – the ‘real’ one and the person I called mum for the last few years. I’m coping, I’m taking photos and pottering! I found the remnants of a poppy field today (thanks to my lovely husband) which seemed fitting – it was windy so the photos have an element of movement which, again feels ok!
The other emotion this weekend is joy! Complete joy as our gorgeous Tommy is one tomorrow. I know that all babies are special but he was sent for a reason. He has been my hope, my light and my saving grace this year. He is loved beyond words and so we will celebrate this weekend #TGFT (Thank goodness for Tommy)
Where has that year gone?
Mum died on 26th June and we have spent this week making the seemingly hundreds of arrangements. I will blog properly when I get my head together but wrote this today as i’m struggling.
Friends keep asking me how I am but the honest answer is I don’t know. Mum died last week and whilst I’m desperately trying to mourn her I’m having trouble finding her. The person we called mum for the last few years hasn’t really been mum at all. She has been a confused and frightened lady who gradually declined to the point of not knowing who we were. She changed in mannerism, appearance and outlook. She had mood swings, phases of being angry followed by tears followed by just sleeping.
So I want to remember my ‘real mum’ the one that looked after and cared for me, the one I could phone for advice and support, the one who loved me unconditionally. But I can’t find her. At the moment the memories of the last few years are too vivid, the images from the last few days imprinted solidly on my mind. I hope in time these will fade and allow my real mum to come back but at the minute the answer to the question ‘How are you’ is a bland one as I can’t explain I’m still looking for mum xx
Mum continues to be very up and down so this is still a struggle. In an attempt to look at what I have and be grateful for the positives in my life I have started the #100happydays challenge. It may seem wrong to do this now when mum is still in hospital but I’m struggling and this is my attempt to ‘cling on with my fingernails’ and be positive. I’m using twitter to upload these @janeh271 not all of them will be on here.
Adam brought Tommy to see me this afternoon – I am so lucky to have a wonderful son and gorgeous grandson (as well as a lovely daughter in law but she was working!)