My dears, this is a sequel to my post about my mother’s move to the care home. She’s doing well, by the way, and much perkier than before. She did have a small stroke due to the pressure, but has since been doing splendidly, although I am not sure she is quite aware of who I am all the time.
Since her departure, and in between other trips to various parts of the country, I have been trying to do paperwork related to her new status. It’s actually pretty much the same as if she had died, while she is in fact living happily just down the road.
So – I have been battling in no particular order with British Telecom, the electoral register, Social Services financial assessments, the hairdresser, the Department for Works and Pensions, the Lifeline provider, GPs and pharmacies, her friend in London, domiciliary care, carer’s support, the library and the chiropodist. I was also advised to set up a funeral plan for her, as she didn’t have one. In a couple of weeks I will be meeting a terribly earnest woman to talk about options for caskets.
This weekend I have been trying to clear out the annexe where she lived, deciding what to keep, what to bin and what to send to the charity shop. Most of it has gone into boxes labelled “charity shop.”
A few years ago my mother asked me what I would do with her beloved belongings when she died, and I told her the charity shops would receive most if not all of it. She was appalled.
“But they were gifts!” she wailed.
“Not to me,” I said.
“From my friends…”
“Not my friends.”
“They mean so much to me…”
“I don’t know who gave them to you, when or why. They don’t mean anything to me. They might as well go to someone who will enjoy them because I think they are awful.”
I was skirting around my true feelings of course and may possibly not have said all that out loud. I probably did though. I don’t lie to my mother.
She tried to persuade me to keep them and I stoutly refused. Too much dusting for one thing, and too much searing pain in the eyeballs for another. I am not fond of those kinds of objects.
So here I am, putting things in boxes and reminding myself that she won’t be coming home. You don’t get better from dementia. She really won’t wake up tomorrow and remember who she is. It’s not Dallas.
We took four large bin bags of clothes and shoes to the charity shop yesterday. My mother loved her clothes and shoes. I reckon there’s another two or three bags to go, and that’s not counting the generously packed suitcase I took to the home, nor the pile of laundry that I will take to the home tomorrow to add to it.
I didn’t know how I would take this clearing out. I thought I would get upset. I thought I would get overwhelmed. I didn’t. I am tired, but it’s quite hard work and we have been at it all day.
I feel I’m in a kind of limbo. I can’t mourn for her because she is happily ensconced in front of a television less than three miles away. I don’t feel guilty, amazingly enough, because it’s easier to do it now than it would be after she died. I just don’t really feel anything about it at all, except weariness.
So that’s all good. I mean, there is no wailing or gnashing of teeth. There is no trauma, just a gentle drifting and waiting for the end to come. Each time the phone rings I am nervous, in case its The Call, but otherwise peaceful.
I am thankful she is well cared for and the staff seem kind and patient. She is so happy there it is clearly a success, and that is not a poor way to go.
I worried about what could go wrong, but this time it didn’t.
May you be as lucky as we have been, and find peace through difficult times.