Sometimes it’s hard to remember what Ma used to be like. The mother of a few years ago asked about what was happening in your life; wanted to know how your day had been; had opinions about world events; worried about you when you were unwell; and handed out valuable culinary advice. Fast forward to a few months ago and I had to tell her how to cut up a carrot. Heartbreaking.
I moved Ma into a nursing home 4 July this year. The hardest thing I’ve ever done and I’ve regretted it many times over. It doesn’t matter that I was barely coping and that I’d just about reached the end of my rope. The guilt will stay with me until my dying day.
On Wednesday last week I was gifted with a visit from my Ma of the old days. It was a day to treasure and hold close to my heart. We went shopping. She wanted to go to a jewellery shop more than anything. We laughed and joked like the old days. Talking nonsense. I took her to a jewellery shop where she was determined to buy me a Christmas present.
Ma hasn’t taken an active interest in Christmas or my birthday for a few years now so this gave me quite a glow inside. She looked at the earrings and kept pointing them out saying, “do you like this?” I tried to steer her away but she was determined!! The lady in the shop must have had an inkling and gave Ma a catalogue and I managed to get Ma to leave. We’d only gone a couple of metres when after some discussion, we turned back and re-entered the store. I purchased a pair of earrings we’d both decided on. Angel wings with little hearts. Ones to treasure.
We continued on our way and Ma chose two dresses, a skirt and top to buy. Some of it from me for Christmas. By the time we left the shopping centre she was glowing. We stopped at her favourite cafe for lunch and she ate the best I’d seen her eat in weeks. It was one exhausted old lady I took back. She kept thanking me for what I did for her which never happens anymore. I kind of didn’t want to leave as I wanted to savour and cherish my time with my Ma of old.
Next morning I arrived to find her sleeping in her bed! This hasn’t happened for weeks, which is why she now has bad pressure sores on her bottom. She was sleeping like an angel and when she woke up she smiled at me. I gave her an early Christmas present of a rug I’d had printed with pictures of the kitties. A member of staff walked in and stopped to stare at Ma in her bed and told her she could have breakfast in bed like ‘the queen’.
That was the last I saw of my old Ma. By that afternoon she had regressed back to the Ma of today. I knew it was coming but couldn’t help but mourn that my Ma was gone once more. Today she didn’t care whether I was there or not. As I left, I told her I loved her, as I usually do and she said, “thank you”.
I do miss her.