It feels like I've been saying goodbye to my Mum for many years now. For the past 5 years, watching her disappear. Loosing her memories one by one, her independence bit by bit.
Throughout that time I know she continued to love me, even when she didn't really know who I was. In the early days, she would get frightened and anxious, sometimes cross and irritable. I was there to reassure and love her.
When she wasn't safe to stay in her own home, my sisters and I helped to find her a safe place to live, one of us visited her each day. It wasn't just our duty, we wanted to. It's not easy to see my strong Mum, change so dramatically. There were many, many times, I pulled the car over on the way home, I couldn't see to drive from the tears that flowed.
This summer was one very long goodbye. The worst and sweetest time of my life. To know we were on borrowed time intensified our feelings, Mums too. I just poured so much love into her, every moment was precious. We all wanted her final days to be surrounded with love, and so that's what we did.
When Mum first went into the home, I would go and fetch her, and she would have tea with us. I would fetch out the old family photo albums and we would talk about the past. One day I realised she didn't remember me as a child anymore. She had been looking at a photo of me, aged 5, she said the little girl was lovely, but it was clear she didn't know me. She had forgotten the little girl who she had loved so much. I left her with the album, walked into the kitchen and my heart broke. Part of me disappeared to.
Since then I've had real difficulty looking at photos, and remembering how mum was before she developed Alzheimer's, it's been too painful, I've not really wanted to look at what I lost, I've grieved losing Mum, processed lots of feeling that people usually do after someone's died, but I've not really allowed myself to remember.
Yesterday we scattered Mums ashes, in a little woodland, in a spot where the sun shone through. Very apt as she certainly brightened up our lives. We came back, and toasted her memory with another glass of champagne. Since Mum has died, we've tried to celebrate her life, and I think we've done that, and I think she would approve.
So yesterday evening, I pulled down a suitcase, vintage of course, off my wardrobe and I opened it. I took out all the photos and started to look through them. Gradually the rest of the family came to join me......it was good, good to remember how things were, when I had a Mum and a Dad. I'd forgotten just how many family parties we had.
So today is the first day of the rest of my life. We really need to make the most of the time we have here. To love those around us with passion, to be the best we can be.....but not to worry if we aren't perfect. To be kind to others, but also to ourselves.
I can really feel the how the stress of the last few months have affected me, and I'm very aware of how my MS affects me when I'm stressed! So tomorrow I'm off to Whitby, for a long weekend with my friend. I feel lucky to be able to do this, lucky I've a family who know this is what I need, and good friends to spend time with.
Bye For Now,
Ada :) xxx