I had to make a detour to reach Mother. There had been an accident and the police closed the road. It must have been nasty as the road was still closed several hours later when I came back. There was a fire engine there too.
The usual smell of air freshener met me as I buzzed to be let in. In some ways reaching Mother is like going into a prison. Without the razor wire. I am not allowed the codes, and can only move into one area before needing help to access the next. Not that anyone ever asks who I am.
Mother clutched me and said she had been worrying. Nothing new there. Mother could win Olympic gold in worrying. I kept calling her Mum, but she didn’t call me Isobel, so I doubt if she knew who I was. She was looking very summery in light weight pink and white check seersucker trousers I got her last year, with a mauve t shirt and mauve fleece. Her feet were in fleecy pink socks.
We went to her room. She needed the loo, so I took the tops off the hangers, folded them up and put them in the chest of drawers.
She wanted a drink and asked for hot chocolate. A good choice as she drained it immediately and did the same with the second cup I requested. I trimmed and cleaned her nails. She worked the lavender hand cream into her skin obediently. I sprayed us both with the new lavender eau de toilette I had bought her for Easter. Continue reading


A River of Stones, Day Twenty-Three: There and Back

I drop a kiss on Mother’s head to say goodbye. Today she has not recognised me. I arrived early and walked up the hill from the station. We spent time together. I cleaned, trimmed and filed her nails. She recited The Lord’s My Shepherd with me as I worked. Afterwards, she worked the handcream into her skin, and as the smell of lavender filled the room, lifted her fingers to her nose, inhaling and smiling. After lunch I read to her; the old favourites – Wordsworth’s Daffodils, Masefield’s Sea Fever, Smart’s My Cat Jeoffrey.
I was there for a meeting about her care. At the last minute I called the Alzheimer’s Society, who also help with people like Mother who have vascular dementia. I was lucky; the woman who has been emailing me and speaking to me on the ‘phone since summer was free and happy to attend. I was so glad of her presence and support.

Diminishing Futures

Mother’s Big Day and My Hopes For Her Future

We’ve heard.
Tomorrow is the big day. Mother will leave hospital for her new home.
Maybe this little flower could be a symbol for the coming days. It looks pretty hopeful to me.

Symbol of Hope

I decided, for lots of good and sensible reasons, not to take further time off work for the transfer, but as zero hour approaches – though actually we don’t know when tomorrow zero hour will be – I’m beginning to wish I’d been less level headed. Continue reading

Not Cat Bonding

I must be doing something right.

Not Cat is more and more responsive to me, despite the car journeys, the different locations, the snip and my lack of enthusiasm for football.

Today when I got home he was waiting for me behind the door, Cat style. He’s barely left my side since. He’s starting to initiate interaction. Continue reading


I haven’t had a drink since before succumbing to the ‘flu – no, I lie; I had a small glass of wine which I didn’t enjoy on New Year’s Eve – but I’m thinking seriously of opening the bottle of whisky my neighbour gave me for Christmas.

I don’t suffer from high blood pressure, but this afternoon was a strain on every nerve.

I called the vet after an hour had gone by and no word. She was apologetic and understanding in equal measure. She talked me through things on the ‘phone, and again when I reached the surgery. Continue reading

For Brendan

Since reading Brendan’s post of his son Sean’s death I’ve been feeling rather sombre and I didn’t think I’d post tonight. But over the washing up I was thinking about what Brendan wrote; We love him, and we always will.

And how the last line of the poem of Larkin’s, An Arundel Tomb, echos and says it all:

What will survive of us is love.