Tuesday, 6 December 2011

No more battles

Sitting staring at the clock just now, trying to get myself through the minutes which mean that an entire 24 hours have passed since my mum died.

They’re taking forever.

Alzheimer’s was the reason but however they leave us, whatever age we are, I’m sure most people like me become temporarily five years old again and are transported back to the time when this day first enters our consciousness.

We realise with shattering clarity that one day Mum will die. If your mum was like mine, they reassure you that it’ll be a longtime away.
For most of us it is.

That fear for me resurfaced through the decade of decline we just travelled through. Past the responsibilities and added pressures, through the transference from mother to child and on to yesterday.

Sometimes I felt angry from the exhaustion of caring sometimes resentful and I always felt sad, but I didn’t walk away.

I was constantly reminded by her beautiful face, of the love that I had for her, even when her best smiles were reserved for the nurses and carers she grew to know better than her own children.

Sometimes our conversations became like the improv classes I learnt at drama school.
I’d play carer or visitor. We’d walk and talk and I’d tell her about myself and call her by her title so as not to frighten her with a familiarity she didn’t recognise.

My heart broke more with these conversations than at any other time because, when the world is at times an unforgiving planet, being with your Mum is a place of safety.
As long as she remembers you.

So today I went to the home and I said goodbye for the last time and they came to take her to the other place. The place where they took my brother on Christmas Day 33 years ago when he was only 17.

Like him she was gentle and kind and strong.
His illness was fast and hers was slow but they fought equally bravely until exhausted they couldn’t fight anymore.

No more battles, now they will rest together.


  1. Terry Bryan (whistleblowco)6 December 2011 at 21:19

    Nik. I'm in tears reading this. I've never met you, but I feel for you deeply. I went to work in a nursing home for people with dementia yesterday and I couldn't stand to see a the heartache. I left and can't go back. My mum is 86 and full of good mental health, but I was reminded of her all day yesterday. Now, reading your words, I'm filled with tears again.

  2. I didn't know your mum, but if it's true that the best parts of our parents live on through us, then she must have been one amazing woman :-)

  3. So moving - my dad is terminally ill - I hope I have the same dignity as you when the inevitable happens.

  4. Thank you Terry whitk227 and Phyl for your beautiful comments. all love Nik x