Mumbo…

It just popped up on my Facebook timeline that I became friends with my mum 8 years ago… Facebook friends that is…

 

I took it as a sign to open that beautiful box in my mind that contains my Mumbo.

 

Tears prick my eyes.

 

Yesterday, I knew was going to be a shock.

 

I didn’t prepare myself for how much of a shock. I could just about cope in the moment. Just…

 

My initial shock at seeing Mum, I hid over her shoulder as I caught the sobs in my throat and let the tears prick my eyes so she couldn’t see… and held her a little longer. Until I could let go and force a smile across my face and say how delighted I was to see her.

 

I had to blink away tears and turn rapidly away after one embrace… a lingering embrace that spoke more words than she could speak… while she traced patterns on my back… just as she did when I was little.

 

I had to hold my sister’s hand and squeeze it tight… when we discussed with the social worker, nurse and NHS representative about Mum’s needs… particularly when we discussed her incontinence, her needs for protection and care to stop sores…   My Mumbo.

Nappies and sudocream.

I can’t bear it.

 

I had prepared myself for some level of deterioration since I last saw her 6 weeks ago… but the reality was far more breath taking.

 

She had shrunk. Diminished is probably a better word…

 

She had diminished in so many ways…

 

Physically diminished…

Smaller, frailer, fragile, pale.

Her face hollow.

Her hair grey with grease.

Hunched.

Shuffling.

 

Emotionally diminished.

Fleeting recognition that was there one instant and gone for so many more…

Beautiful clear grey eyes, now milky blue, unable to focus.

Nothing there.

Tired.

Drugged up to the eyeballs.

Literally.

 

Seeing her framed through her bedroom door, she came through from the darkness into the light.

The initial shock I felt like a sudden bolt – she looked like her Mum, My Grandma just before she passed away.

 

She too had Alzheimer’s.

Vacant.

Gaunt.

 

The walking dead.

 

I write those 3 words… they are shocking. But it is her reality.

 

There is no quality of life left for my Mum.

 

My mum who loved quality, craved quality. Would only eat, taste, use the best… She grew up in Switzerland and therefore had the super high standards of the Swiss.

 

I know she would hate her reality. I hate it.

 

Immediately from leaving the hospital, I put my fragile Mumbo back in her beautiful bejeweled box… took a deep breath and walked away. I wasn’t ready to face it. Didn’t want to share my feelings with James or Pip…. Dosed myself up on Chablis and cough mixture for a fitful night sleep.

 

Writing this has released the memory… facing in to the experience that was yesterday as being horrible.

 

Then scrolling through my Mum’s facebook page has helped drown out the sad images of yesterday, with happier times…

Mum with her grandchildren, playing, cuddling, smiling..

Mum at Bambi’s wedding day looking so glamorous and confident…

Mum at her 70th, just before Alzheimer’s really dug its claws in and took her from us…

 

As I sit in this lovely boutique coffee house just off bond street, drinking the most amazing coffee and fresh juices…

 

I am glad my friend cancelled on me.

I am glad I got to take the time to write, replay the memory… and put it away.

I am glad I opened the box again today.

I am glad that Facebook reminded me of the happier memories, happier times…

I am glad that it is nearly time to catch the train home, to my boys, my babies…

I am glad that I can hug them and tickle their backs and breathe them in, breathe in their warmth, love, life and energy.

 

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