I had a lovely day with Mother today.
When I arrived, Aunt and Cecily were there. They visit almost every Saturday. Cecily knows Mother from the church where they both worshipped. They share the same birthday, though twenty-six years apart. Cecily’s husband used to do Mother’s hair. He was a fitness fanatic who watched what he ate with the eye of a hawk and adored Mother. Then eight years ago, he had a huge stroke, and has been childlike ever since. To put it mildly, Cecily has a lot on her plate , and her loyalty to her friendship with Mother is admirable. Their mutual affection is evident, and I know that Mother benefits from her visits. Without Cecily’s dedication, Aunt would not be able to visit either. She’s not going to get a gong, but I do believe she deserves one.
When Cecily and Aunt left, I made us lunch; ratatouille for me, gluten free chipolata sausages with mashed swede and carrot for Mother. It was her sixty-second wedding anniversary. We had an almond traybake; a new gluten free offering from M&S which we loved. Lots and lots of apple juice. Mother was pretty lucid today and we had some good chats, but the best bits were, again, down to poetry. We found some new ones that we really liked; John Betjeman’s poem about the church mouse whose space is invaded by other, non-god-fearing rodents at harvest festival made us smile, and chatter for several minutes. The Listeners is our favourite. I’m not sure how I’m going to feel about this poem when Mother dies. We explored some more De la Mare. We liked Silver.
Just before I left, we returned to the books I’d given Mother with children’s poems. I read No Matter What by Debbie Gliori, and then read it again because we both enjoyed it so much. The more poetry I read, the calmer Mother became. And the more relaxed I became. and the more both of us enjoyed ourselves. Fabulous.
I needed to go, so I pulled out The Owl and the Pussycat with gorgeous illustrations by Anne Mortimer. The last picture is stunning. It also helped to remind Mother that Cat was alone on Das Boot. So she let me go quite easily; telling me to kiss him from her, and to tell him she’d love to see him. Usually she tries to keep me with a problem that she unleashes just as I’m going, so I feel guilty and fraught as I leave. This was lovely; we kissed, hugged, rubbed noses and it was so easy.
I spoke about Poetry Power before. Today showed me that power all over again.