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Mum, Spring and some other things


swilkinson

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I have gone back to photo scanning to make the post-funeral PowerPoint presentation for my mum. I thought I would do this while she is still alive as I am sure I couldn’t be bothered when I am in mourning for her. It features photos from every section of her life, the oldest dated 2nd August 1925 when she would have been seven.

 

She is still well, not speaking, mostly sleeping sitting up in the “loungeroom” with the other ladies. The aides say that occasionally she participates in an activity, shakes a rattle to the music program they do Tuesdays and Thursdays, plays with items stitched to a felt tablecloth, runs strings of beads through her fingers. It is so minimal her activity now but in the severe stages of dementia that is how it is.

 

She was “asleep” on Tuesday when I was there but she has a thickened drink and I fed it to her on a spoon and although she appeared almost unconscious when the spoon touched her lips the mouth opened and she swallowed it down. It is the interest in food that keeps you alive towards the end, the good eaters survive longer apparently.

 

People ask me why I still visit as she doesn’t know me, has not said my name for probably three years or so, sometimes doesn’t even acknowledge that I am there. I go because I love her, want her to have the best life possible and know that by visiting her the aides etc get to see her more as the person I see her as. I know that doesn’t make sense to a lot of people but it does to me.

 

Ray and I have had a good week. I say now that that just means there has been no major upsets only the kind that I am used to dealing with. Ray has no infections and so his behaviour is in the normal range. I think it helped that our daughter and her family came as the fact that they had not visited us in a while may have worried him as much as it worried me.

 

We all know families can get beyond being interested in their oldies and decide that “out of sight is out of mind” so it worried me that they stayed away so long. Our daughter was going to ring with some dates we might like to go down there but that didn’t happen so I am wondering if they really want us to visit again. I hope that it just means they have been busy this week and it slipped her mind.

 

No major events this week, we did go out to lunch on Thursday, which was nice. The last Kids Club this week so I get three weeks off and Ray gets to sleep Wednesday afternoons for three weeks. I love the kids but they are really manipulative and often disruptive, disorganized and down right rebellious to I often come home feeling as if I have wrestled with alligators not just played handball in the yard and organized craft activities for a dozen or so 5-12 year olds.

 

Lets say winter is still lingering. Last night it was down to almost freezing again. I had to go and find my hot water bottle, which I had packed away. I wish spring would actually get here. I planted out a few herbs today, I have plenty of mint sprung up already, parsley, oregano and still a few chives but they are weedy and need replacing. I’ve just planted out coriander seedlings and some chilies because although I don’t like them the boys do so I can give them away. I planted out some lettuce seedlings too but usually lose them to the snails. I don’t have the heart to kill off the snails with pellets so will have to be vigilant.

 

I love the birds being so busy this time of the year. They fly through our front verandah narrowly missing us sitting there, it is scary but hilarious to see Ray duck when they are long past him. I am trying to sit out with him a little time each day although I am often busy with chores inside. As a caregiver I can be too busy doing things FOR him that I fail to do things WITH him.

 

Tomorrow Trev is looking after Ray for a few hours while I have lunch with some of the Stroke support group caregivers. They go out every month but since it has mostly been Sunday lunches and I go to church it has been a while. I was pleased they decided on Saturday lunch for a change. Trev has done a few little things for me this week. He is a good son. Not perfect but pretty good, like the rest of us.

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Sue:

I always love reading your blogs. I feel it makes me better person & survivor so thank you for that. I am so glad that you visit your mom more often. I think patients get better care when their family cares about them in hospital. you must have done something good in raising your children that Trev is there for you both.

 

Asha

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Sue, I enjoy reading your blogs as well. I am sure your daughter is busy and will get back to you soon. You are lucky that Trev is so attentive as he is lucky to have you. I hope spring comes soon with nice weather for you though hat means for us it will be winter coming too fast.I am happy for you that you had an uneventful week. I am sure you appreciate those as they dont come often enough for you. I laughed when you described your visit to the kids club. They can be very tiring but they do take your mind off the seriousness of your life. Kudos to you for preparing the presentation for your mom. This must be hard to do but like you said much easier because you are not mourning her. I wish all the best to you and your family.

 

 

mc

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I totally understand why you visit your mom. I visited my grandpa as much as I could when he was deteriorating from Alzhiemer's disease. I was not fazed by the fact that he didn't know me anymore and he threatened me by saying, "I'm going to kill you." I knew it wasn't my grandpa, as he would never say that to his "special" granddaughter. Three days before he passed away, I had sat on the bedside, held his hand, and talked and told him that everything is going to be ok. He was totally nonresponsive and I knew that the time was near. He passed away peacefully in his sleep.

 

As for making a memorial for your mom while she's still alive is a great idea. The idea is not to just mourn, but also to celebrate her life. When I die, I'd want my loved ones, family, and friends to remember the good things and not let the sadness overwhelm the good things. I know the pain of loss too well. I cringe that it will have that same effect on others when I pass. Being sort of prepared helps a lot, I believe.

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Sue,

It is a great idea to work on the memories about your Mom now.

I am happy to hear that you had a relatively uneventful week.

I hope that you enjoyed your outing.

 

Ruth

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