Monday, April 6, 2009

Spending time with Mum ...

... was very special this last weekend. It's a two hour flight from Johannesburg to Cape Town. I have done this trip many times now since my Mum has been in the Home in Somerset West.

Mum and I
I always stay with Ian and Kathy (my younger brother and sister in law) who make me feel so welcome every time I descend on them! I am very grateful and appreciate it so much. It has given me the chance to spend as much time as I can with my Mum.
The above photo is a really nice one as Mum looks good there .... (and that's me and my 'little baby' brother!) Saturday was a good day for her. The sister on duty had told her that I was coming .... she had colour in her face and I was surprised how well she looked. She recognised me straight away and was so pleased to see me!!! Since my last visit in early December she has definitely deteriorated. Won't go into detail as it's really really hard to see a mother who was so full of life and vigour end up being trapped in her own body and mind.
She has Alzheimer's and Parkinsons now.

The sisters and nurses are caring and compassionate .... truly wonderful people. I took them a batch of homemade shortbread (my Mum's recipe - of course - handed down from my Granny) and they were delighted!
On Saturday afternoon, Mum wasn't as well as in the morning so I suggested we went for a little walk out of the front door for some fresh air. One of the nurses, Lungiswa, prepared my Mum for her little 'outing' and combed her hair gently and put on her glasses .. ready to go!!!

Off we 'shuffled' and out into the fresh air. She used to love going for walks around the Home - there is a lovely garden on the other side of the building with a lawn, flowers and benches ... but that was too far for us so we went out the front door. Beyond the gate behind my Mum (in the photo below) is a spectacular view of the Helderberg Mountain range which can been seen through the trees. She used to go out every day to look at the mountain - always appreciated everything around her.

I took a photo of her with the mountain in the background but it's not a very nice photo of my Mum and I don't want to share that one. It is exactly how she looks now and too sad to share - I am not even going to send it to my eldest brother in England.

It's very hard for her to look at anything except stare straight ahead and I tried several times to show her the little white flowers in the flower box. Eventually she did.

She always loved flowers .. was passionate about them ... and spent hours in her beautiful garden. Joined flower groups and did flower arranging and Ikabana. I often take artificial flowers when I visit so that she will always have fresh pretty flowers to look at. This time I took one single rose and sprayed it with a gentle smelling perfume.

She would have appreciated it if she 'had been normal' so that's why I took it. I had to hold it up right in front of her face for ages until she focused on it. "Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful" she said.

And so are you Mummy


  1. Oh Avril, this is so sad! It must be one of the most difficult things to do, watch your parents deteriorate.

  2. Oh Mom, she looks a lot worse than our visit in December :(

  3. I am glad you got to spend precious time with your mom.

  4. Your mom is lovely...I imagine her recognition of you was a gift...have similar memories with my mother.

  5. Awww, your time with your mom is so precious, but at the same time this is so sad. I feel your pain. Hugs xxx

    By the way, remember you asked about the pussy willows, and what the next stage would be?
    I took a picture, especially for you, it's in my Weekly Winners post.

  6. Avril,

    I'm glad you had a nice visit with your Mom, my father in law has Alzheimers, it is not easy, we are fortunate to have found a nice caregiver to live with him, since he can't be on his own anymore, she is from Nigeria and has been a godsend, he is finally use to her and seems to miss her on her time off.

  7. It truely is very hard when somebody you love goes backwards so fast right in front of your eyes. I saw it with my father, but thats a story for another day. One needs to spend quality time with your loved ones as much as you can, because you never know when you won't have the opportunity anymore.