Just popped into my local library to return a CD because they sent me an email to remind me it’s due back today. Happy days! That’s the first time I’ve not had to pay a fine and got an item back on time!
It’s like living with Marty McFly in the Future with all this technology: emails, self service, online services. Think I’ll suggest the library uses that as a slogan:
“Don’t get a fine! Bring it back in time!”
I’m not sure if you still get fined. I didn’t look at the small print when I signed up last month. I’d best check because my youngest told me yesterday he can’t remember where the book is that he took out. If it’s like the old days, adults pay a fine, kids get the strap.
My lad, not remembering where his book is, has brought up a harrowing memory of when me Mum, in the early stages of her dementia, was presented with a photo album by my daughter for her birthday. It had lots of special photos she had beautifully arranged with little notes and tiny love hearts drawn all over the pages. As she opened it, and looked at the first page, my daughter said “Remember that day, Gran?”
The look on me mum’s face will always haunt me. She turned to me, as she always did when she was stressed or confused, and said, “I can’t remember” and I saw the fear in her eyes, as she realised she was not able to pull that memory back from the darkness and it broke me. I had to keep it together, but inside I was raging. This wonderful woman, my mum, who spent her whole life looking after others, who was dedicated to God and the church and was the driving force behind my dad, Pastor David. I wanted to shout out, “OK God, so that’s how you repay her, is it? That’s my Mum, you bastard!” I wanted to punch God in his righteous, judgemental face, but instead I had to hug my mum and comfort her because she had closed the book and was holding it tight to her breast and she was weeping, not crying, weeping.
We used the diversion tactics we’d been shown for anyone who has dementia and, as her grand-kids rallied around her, we managed to get her smiling again and continued making her birthday one of the best she ever had had, with lots of love, hugs and cake.
My chain of thought and mood has completely changed from when I started writing this, which is a regular occurrence because I don’t have a fixed idea what I’m going to write until I sit down to do it. I will now compose myself and revisit my library story another day.
But to finish, if you have someone with dementia, don’t stop going regularly to see them, because you know that, as soon as you’ve gone, they won’t even remember you’d been to see them. Please don’t come up with that old chestnut, “I don’t go because I want to remember her as she was!”
Well, bollocks to that! Get down to that person, show them some love and spend an hour in the moment with them and it will bless you both. I remember that special look in my mum’s eyes every time I walked into the Eachstep Nursing Home and the big smile she greeted me with, followed by big hugs and kisses.
So…”Go today! Don’t delay!”
I’m on a roll with these slogans today
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