Mum and Dad are still living in the family home. That’s what Dad keeps telling mum. “There’s your tree, Margaret”, he patiently repeats pointing to the towering gum tree in the neighbour’s garden. Or, he reminds her of the huge Steinway grand piano in their loungeroom. They’re anchor points in an otherwise surreal world fueled by vascular dementia, and I make a note to ask her what she sees when she looks out her window next time. Where on earth does she think she is?
At this stage of the dementia journey, I’m more curious than alarmed. She’s still intelligent. Knows who she is and who we are. It’s only Dad who transmogrifies into an incredible cast of characters, including her mother who she mostly knows is dead but keeps turning up then inexplicably disappearing into thin air.
Yet surprisingly, she has new-found serenity. “Darling, I was watching the clouds today and enjoying the sunshine. There are so many beautiful flowers I’d never noticed in our garden before.”
So much doesn’t matter anymore. I’m relieved she’s no longer persecuted by “the Jones’s”, although she keeps asking me if I’ve been practicing my singing. I can’t quite bring myself to tell her that my throat doesn’t work anymore and that’s why I play the violin. Yet, I don’t want to disappoint and I cherish every time she plays “Happy Birthday”, which she still plays with her unique flourish. This is when she’s most herself.
“Strange things are happening around here, darling,” she says. “But don’t worry. We’ll work it all out one day.”
I am not so sure, but I’m borrowing her new-found optimism, praying a miracle will stem the tide.
Goodness knows where those fractured neural pathways are taking her, but this home is where her heart is and she’s happy there. So although we’re no longer looking out through the same window, we’ll keep holding her hand and stay with her for the journey.
My apologies for significantly going over the word limit this week. Perhaps, I could plead dyscalculia. However, the photo this week with it’s mirrored reflections reminded me of some of the visual confusion my mother has been experiencing lately and her corresponding diagnosis of dementia. I felt it was more important for this story to be told than to stick to the word limit this week. So many of us have a loved one who is experiencing dementia, Alzheimer’s or has been there. People’s comments can be cruel and disrespectful and going down this path is no reflection of how intelligent or accomplished they might’ve been.
I’ve had two grandparents go through Alzheimer’s and that was very different to mum. My grandparents were always old, and just got older. Forgetting things just seemed par for the course until it took over. On the other hand, our parents ideally have always been our strength physically, emotionally and intellectually and then they’re not and we start trading places, it’s so much harder (at least, for me.)
Anyway, my apologies to Rochelle for exceeding the word limit, but I know she supports a good cause, although she keeps her efforts within the word limit.
Do you have any comments or insights into dementia or Alzheimer’s? Please share in the comments below.
This is another contribution to Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.
“Cars have feelings too,” it said. “You think I like being luminous green and an absolutely laughing stock? Of course not. I hate it. I used to be fade into the background grey, but then Harry lost a bet and obviously HE wasn’t the one who got painted green! Now, I stick out like a wretched neon sign and everyone calls me Kermit the Frog.
However, it wasn’t all bad. Daphne, a pretty pink 2CV, has a thing for bright green. Turns out, for every Kermit, there’s always a Miss Piggy.”
Humph…a talking car. Perhaps, I need a stronger coffee!
Thought you might like to hear Kermit’s views on being green. I’ve never forgotten when I first this at the movies and it was so sad. Such a touching song.
Meanwhile , my mother and her family have had an almost phobia of the colour green and felt it brings you bad luck. Well, I thought I might just Google that and as it turns out, that wasn’t all just superstition as green paint and clothing dyes used to contain arsenic. Here’s a link to a great story about it: Scheeles Green .
This has been another contribution to Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields where we write up to 100 words to a supplied photo prompt. Many thanks PHOTO PROMPT © Brenda Cox this week.
Malcolm wasn’t going to let being broke and homeless come between him and his daily brew. Oozing charisma and charm, albeit in rugged, unshaven way, Malcolm flirted outrageously with Roberto the Barista at Mecca Cafe for free coffee, while shagging Angel over at Nicko’s Pizzeria. After all, a man has to eat. Playing a game of pass-the-parcel, Malcolm also couch-surfed through the rank and file of St Thomas’s Anglican Church. While they were hell-bent on saving his soul, he was happy praying along and raiding the fridge. Anything to survive. Everyone was only too happy to help the homeless.
99 words Photo © Roger Bultot
This is another contribution to Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle Wishoff Fields.
P.S. My apologies for not being around for a bit. I was doing a course in freelance Journalism and was a bit over-focused.
“Everything was meant to be okay. Not this.”
Despite her family history, Ebony had faith in early detection, and regular mammograms. Then, came the diagnosis .
“I’m going to beat this!” She wrote in her journal every day. However, grit and determination were no match for bad luck. The cancer had spread. She was only 28.
Arriving home, she found roses and a “Get Well” balloon from Mike on the doorstep. She’d told him it was long covid.
Ebony had no idea when the knife came from. However, the balloon was found later with forty stab wounds and was unresponsive.
100 words PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields
Last year, two close friends of mine died of breast cancer, while my sister-in-law was fighting a rather gruelling battle with it and facing obscure complication after obscure complication and a run of very bad luck. One of those friends never told me she was sick and I found out after she’d died. The other was seemingly cancer free and after a gruelling eight year battle, the cancer came back with a vengeance and she was gone in a week. It was like one of these fierce Australian bush fires, and it consumed her. They both had teenage children, and the loss was obviously focused on them. However, grief rippled out. They were much loved, and it’s still so hard to believe they’re no here.
I hope you’ve had a great week!
This has been another contribution to Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle Wishoff-Fields at https://rochellewisoff.com/ We’d love you to join us!
“If you bungle raising your children, I don’t think whatever else you do matters very much.”
“The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness.”
Honore de Balzac
“Having kids — the responsibility of rearing good, kind, ethical, responsible human beings — is the biggest job anyone can embark on.”
“All that I am, or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.”
“We are born of love; Love is our mother.”
“When you look into your mother’s eyes, you know that is the purest love you can find.”
“Women, who struggle and suffer pain to ensure the continuation of the human race, make much tougher and more courageous soldiers than all those big-mouthed freedom-fighting heroes put together.”
― Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl
Just wanted to honour Mother’s Day today with some photos of me with my Mum, my grandmothers and with our kids. Relationships tend to be much more complex than Hallmark sentiments, and our relationships with our mother’s are often fraught and go through the wringer….as do our relationships with our children. A mother gives birth to us, but this may not be the person who raises us and we know to be mother. There are also so many mothers who have lost their babies, and today brings an unfathomable and often very private grief. Many have lost their mums, and many way too soon before they had a chance to grow up. I’m sorry. I had friends who passed away last year, and left their kids behind, which goes against every instinct you’ve got as a mum. However, they had no say in that. It is what it is. Isn’t that the phrase we apply to unfathomable, inexplicable pain?!!
For me, I’ll be grateful for the good today. I thank my mother for being my Mum, and I’m sorry and regret I didn’t always know or understand how much she loved me, or that she understood me better than I ever gave her credit for. However, I am lucky that it’s not too late, and I can’t help wondering whether there is even that opportunity to make amends, and that they might just hear us from heaven. We don’t know.
Lastly, let Holocaust survivor, Eddie Jaku, have the last words. I read his book: The Happiest Man On Earth last week:
“I try to teach this to every young person I meet. Your mother does everything for you. Let you know you appreciate her, let her know that you love her. Why argue with the people you love? Go out on the street, stop a person littering and argue with them. There are a million better people to argue with than your mum.”
Sending you love this Mother’s Day!
Breastfeeding their first-born son in a derelict squat, Maria thought of Our Lady giving birth to baby Jesus in a stable. Things were grim, but not without hope. If love was enough, baby Thomas could soar to the moon and back. Be invincible.
Then, the crucifying doubts set in.
“Who am I kiddin’? If I can’t save meself, what hope does me baby have?”
She wrapped him up in her only blanket, and kissed him goodbye.
“There’s no greater love, than heart-wrenching sacrifice,” they said.
Now, twenty years later, she’d received a letter.
Her precious baby had become a man.
100 words PHOTO PROMPT © Carole Erdman-Grant
This has been another contribution to Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle Wishoff Fields: https://rochellewisoff.com/
My contributions of late have all been rather serious, so I’m thinking I might have to find a bit of humour next week.
By the way, in case you’re wondering about the photo I used for this week’s link-up, I went to a local book sale on the weekend and these are my new friend…all 38 of them. I am in heaven.
Many thanks and best wishes,
In January my husband and I had to rush my Dad to emergency. We had to take a strange route to avoid traffic. We also had to keep him calm. He was ironically excited in his delirium from level 10 pain. We thought he would need to stay a few days but in reality the […]When death comes. — Into The Clearing
They called themselves the odd couple. Yet, ignoring all the warning signs, Katherine fell madly in love with Pete, a self-confessed slob, while she was Queensland’s Lacquer Queen not a hair out of place.
It wasn’t just that his tie was crooked. None of his books were straight either. Some were tipsy and leaning over ever so slightly, while others were drop dead drunk.
In a jiffy, she’d automatically straightened the books while he was cooking dinner, but didn’t know what to do with his feral pot plant. So, she threw it out. Unbothered, Pete just thought he’d got lucky.
PHOTO PROMPT © Penny Gadd This has been another contribution to Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle Wishoff-Fields. Every week we write 100 words to a photo prompt.
The timing couldn’t have been worse. Jessica and her husband were leaving on their honeymoon, when she spotted Jack almost camouflaged in a grey hoodie. The years fell away as fast as their clothes all those years ago, and she felt just as naked.
“Honey, your boarding pass.”
Jess smiled back at her husband, but couldn’t keep her eyes off Jack. What were the chances?
Meanwhile, Jack was waiting for the call. It was late and he was sweating blood. How could she turn up and ruin everything?
Too late. He chucked his phone in the bin and went home.
This has been another contribution to Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle Wishoff Fields. This week’s prompt is © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.