I sat in the car and watched Mum push the trolley to its bay, she turned and started to walk back towards me. She turned without hesitation and I watched her closely. It was about twenty steps and she had taken at least ten. A car was pulling out and she stopped, if she hadn’t of, the car wouldn’t of. In that moment I saw her face. She was lost.
I waved frantically. The car reversed and for seconds I couldn’t see her. By the time the car had gone she had turned around. I begrudgingly got out of the car.
“Martha! Martha! Come on, hurry up.”
She spotted me, relieved.
She got in the car and I held her hand, we didn’t exchange any words but I felt her embarrassment alongside mine.
I was frustrated and embarrassed by my frustration. Why don’t I just be nicer? I thought, it’s not her fault! Why can’t she just see our car? Frustration. It’s not her fault.
It occurs to me on many occasions of every day that life is not easy for Martha. There is a perceived misconception that because you have alzheimers and there is no worry that life is rosey for you. This, in my experience is far from the truth.
I see worry in Martha every time I look into her eyes. I hear her words and the relief in her voice, “oh there is my girl” every time I am out of her sight for too long. I experience the absolute bliss as I walk into the room where she attends her course and her whole face lights up. For the entire day she has not know where I am, her brain has not been able to draw any conclusions of where I may be. Instead all she comes up with are blanks.
We hold hands, and I ask how her day is. We walk to the car, I let her guide the way. I try to reinstate normalcy in her life even though for both of us it is a real struggle.
I ask, ‘how was your day today?”
“Oh you know, the usual, boring..”
How unsatisfying life must be when you cannot remember what you have done the past 5 hours, the past 5 minutes. I tell her all the things I think she may have done
“It sounded like you were singing a lot today, and helping out in the kitchen, it looks like you played pool and table tennis too…”
Sometimes I lie.
I tell her grand stories and her face lights up. She squeezes my hand, in that squeeze I wonder if she knows I am lying. If this is her way of thanking me for telling her tales to keep her sane.
As much as I have lost Martha, as much as I grieve for her, become frustrated by the loss, I wonder what it is like for Mum to be losing Martha as well. To lose her independence, her hopes and dreams. To be talked at and told what to do by your daughter. I wonder what it feels like to lose yourself?
Love you Mum x
‘If you resist it, it’ll be cruel to you, if you let it in, it’ll be magic!’