|A boat trip, in her favourite blue jacket
|Always a sun-worshipper...
Little did I know that a turbulent time was to come at the home, with a change of management and cuts to service. December 2015 saw mum hospitalised with a potentially fatal aspiration pneumonia (after she had been moved into a new room without my knowledge), and I found myself embroiled in nearly three years of subsequent strife with the provider. A terrible time.
Despite her detached look here, she's physically surprisingly strong; it's moving to see the attention staff have given to her hair and dress for the occasion. I’ll never forget their kindness.
And mum’s 93rd, last week? Well, another episode of near-fatal illness in November 2018 has left her more impaired. It may have been some kind of stroke – it’s hard to tell, now that she is too frail for medical tests. She was not expected to survive that day, but has so far pulled through, nearly a year later. There is remarkable strength inside her, though she is less able to communicate nowadays – another tragedy for a former singer, teacher, and lifelong chatterbox. But I’m grateful she seems content. She can no longer pick up food with her one good hand and swallowing is more difficult; she mostly accepts being fed, and still enjoys cake, custard, ice cream.
Anniversaries are generally important to us all; and when someone has a degenerative disease, it may be all the more meaningful to mark the passage of time. Above all, I think it’s important to record the truth. This is the story of my love for my mum and hers for me (when she knew me) – and of dementia’s impact on us both.