Dementia on all sides
Yesterday I went to see my Mum for the first time since the week before Christmas. It was good to see her but I wouldn't say she'd been affected by my absence at all which could have been a little soul destroying if I wasn't used to her. She's in a lovely home, is waited on hand and foot, is surrounded by people to talk to and is, I think, happier than she's been for years which is wonderful to see and makes me realise that a care home isn't always the dreadful thing we think it is. That, as I'm sure you can imagine, is a comforting thought where I'm concerned. The thing is that I took some photos for her and she went through them, recognising everyone in front of her until she got to the one of her and my stepdad who she was married to for 32 years. He died five years ago and she's spent almost every hour of those years missing him but yesterday she peered at the photo and asked 'who's that with me?'. I said his name and she replied 'oh, I wonder what happened to him' as though he was some random stranger she'd met a few times. Not much stops me in my tracks nowadays but that did. I took a deep breath and moved the conversation on into clearer waters but was left with a feeling of, once again, having the rug pulled from under my feet. To have dementia affect one of those closest to you is quite dreadful but to be sandwiched in the middle of two instances is even more disconcerting, only it made me realise something. The last time I saw Mum, in that run up to Christmas 2020, she wasn't herself and I remember getting back in the car and resting my head on the steering wheel while I thought about her and then drew on all my strength to drive home and deal with Ash. Yesterday I left the care home relieved that she was happy and well looked after and then came home knowing that life could be so much worse. It's very true that what doesn't break you makes you stronger and I can feel that strength growing each and every day which is most definitely not a bad thing.
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