Mum is 86 today, and suffering from dementia. It is sad to watch the deterioration of someone you love as she is slowly being overcome by a disease that leaves the body mostly unaffected but takes away all that makes the person who they are. Traces of personality are either taken away or twisted or fragmented and rearranged into a different order.
I could get silent mum, who sits in the nursing home chair looking to be asleep, only to suddenly answer the staff when offered a chocolate biscuit. Then to fake sleep again, ignoring me.
Or I could get walking mum, walking back and forth between the nursing home rooms for an hour, making occasional comments on what she sees or thinks she sees.
Or there’s chatty mum. The most bizarre conversations imaginable as past and present memories, though mostly past, come out in a jumbled order, reality and fiction combined in a kaleidoscopic way.
Or singing mum, or joking mum there are endless possibilities.
But always quiet. When she speaks it is a whisper.
But even on the good days there is a sadness, watching someone you love being robbed of who they are.
Dementia is cruel like that. Cruel to those who suffer from the disease and those who care for them alike.
But she’s still Mum.