I watched today as people posted messages and photos to their Mums, Step Mums, Grand Mums and Foster Mums, and recognised the people that inspired them to be better. I was one of those and I talked briefly about my Mum being my hero. She was and will be my hero forever.
I feel for those whose mother is no longer here, and for those Mothers who have to endure this day without the children that they gave birth to.
But Mothers Day is a sad day for my family in so many ways. Mum is still here but our mother has dementia and is at the point where I don’t think she has any quality of life. The old, frail woman who I saw yesterday, who can’t communicate and can’t feed herself, is not the Mum I knew. She is not the Mum who could listen to us and advise us when problems came along hug us when we felt sad or in need of comfort. Almost all of life’s other menial tasks that we take for granted have been taken away from our mother by the disease that will take her life. We don’t know when that will be – how soon or how long it will take for Mum to lose the ability that she has to breathe, to swallow, to be.
Dementia is cruel beyond words and so many of our loved ones are forgotten when dementia takes control. Its hard to visit – its bloody hard to walk into a room and see a parent who was once robust, strong and determined reduced to someone that you can barely recognise. Its emotionally exhausting for family members to watch and be a part of. I know it is for my family and I find it harder each time I visit to hold myself together emotionally. Nothing would have made me happier yesterday that to take Mum out for brunch, a walk or a cup of tea.
I told my Mum yesterday that she doesn’t have to hang on if she is too tired. I told my Mum she can go when she is ready. I don’t know if she is and she can’t tell me that she is – she must be exhausted too – she must feel so terribly tired trying to make people understand her, to make her wishes understood and heard (which she can’t) and to keep going on when its a continued struggle. I want her to know that perhaps we are ready to start the long journey to goodbye.
I see so many people in that place where Mum is who are in the same boat – its not a happy place to visit and I know how I feel when I do – I imagine my sister in particular, who feeds her and is her most frequent visitor, must feel the same. We all show it in different ways and I admire my sister so much for all that she has done and continues to do – so much of her life has been paused so that she can do what she does for our mother.
I don’t want Mum to die, but I also don’t want her to continue living like this. Its not the person she was or is. She was a child through the second world war, she buried a daughter at a few months of age from SIDS, along with my father she struggled and worked harder than any one I know to raise my 8 siblings and I. There was never an easy street for our Mum. She has never had a privileged life in monetary terms but has had a wonderful life filled with memories that we can hold close to us when she does go. Dementia has made her journey even tougher and she has dealt with it for 20 years.
Mothers Day is a sad day for us – and a day we all think about what comes next and how prepared we are for Mum to stop fighting, to leave us. I like to think we have been grieving in our own way for some years but I am sure I am not prepared for the eventuality of her no longer being here with us.
I am so proud of all that Vesta has done and we will all treasure beautiful memories of Mum when she is gone. We will cherish those times we and with her, with our kids and our loved ones. And when each Mothers Day comes around we will constantly be reminded of all that she gave us. I hope one day I can have a Mothers Day where I am not sad any more.