She Ain’t Dead Yet

When Mother was ill in hospital she said she wanted to die. She said it again at various times when anxiety, fear and dementia overwhelmed her.

Listening to Aunt, what I hear is her desire to live. I told her today that I don’t think she’s dying now. She is someone with too firm a grip on life. Maybe that was why she sent me out to buy her some wafer thin ham and bread rolls. I confess I was surprised by this request, but not as surprised as the Specialist Nurse when I told her of my shopping list.

“Not for her,” she said. Her words were more a statement than a question. I skipped the bit about being vegetarian, and said, “Yes, for her. She says she’ll nibble them.”

The SN, so surprised she nearly forgot her professionalism, told me Aunt was amazing and that she astounded that she was still alive. I’ll leave you to sort out which she is which there. I am confident you’ll cope.


A similar tale with the Hospice Nurses who have been so used to being rejected by Aunt that they now just ‘drop in’ if they are near. “She’s a very determined lady,” they said. “Yes,” I said, thinking that if they had met the clan en masse it might have been an experience from which they would not have recovered.

Cousin and I have often said that Mother and her siblings, who of course include Cousin’s father, my Uncle Tommy, were a difficult bunch. One of my first school reports said I was determined to the point of defiance. Mother loved to quote it, I think she saw it as meaning I was cut from the same stone as she was.

But I have kept you waiting. Here are two photos of Aunt today. The first shows her looking very severe, though I think she was looking at photos of MasterB who she loves, which I had just put on her tablet. Though thinking about it, it may have been when she scrolled back to look at our various outings over two summers. When she saw the photo later, she looked at it in surprise. “I bet you didn’t think you could look so stern,” I said.

Stern Aunt

Stern Aunt

The second is marred by shadow, but the smile is there, so is the bruise on her head. I have tried to tell her that she has a global fandom, but I don’t think she’s taken it on board. Not sure how to progress that one.

Still Smiling

Still Smiling

We listened to Lemn Sissay on Desert Island Discs and she loved his voice. She gasped when he spoke about how his foster parents were told to consider the placement an adoption, and I should like her to hear it again, maybe in bits, and to hear her comments on his story.

No, she is most definitely still alive.

14 thoughts on “She Ain’t Dead Yet

    • In theory, she shouldn’t be able to swallow any solids now, her oesophagus will have narrowed so much. I doubt whether she will be able to eat much of the bread, but the intention is a good one and demonstrates, I believe her determination to live.

  1. So pleased to hear things were not as bad as you had feared and that she has rallied again and is battling on! I am sure you will sleep happier tonight in your own bed and with Master B at your feet…these family traumas as I know so well are so draining….

    • Yes, I am reminded of Mother and the roller coaster of emotions in her last years. As you say, it is very tiring. Days like yesterday make me glad she has survived this long. If she were in pain, or hospitalised, I should feel very differently.

    • I had a call from her this morning. She seemed to believe she fallen asleep and so had missed my departure, and was apologising. I never know whether to contradict her about these lost or false memories, or just ride with them. Today I did the latter.

      • I find with my Mom-in-law I try to keep things real because I think it is important but I don’t nudge her memory on every little thing. With my Mom I just let them go because I knew how little time was left. Forgetting your leaving is a big lost memory, but I would think it not to be unusual considering what is going on right now. I am certainly no professional that would know, just how I feel about it. I wonder if the fall could be part of the memory loss and/or confusion. That is quite a large bruise on her forehead.

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