My Safe Place

I feel safe writing here, I have my own corner of the interweb where I can express myself freely and sometimes that is just enough, to get my words off my chest, onto the screen out there somewhere… Instead of letting things fester inside my heart and feelings so raw eat away at the corners of my mind…

… but where to start?

January 2nd 2016, right at the beginning of the year… this was the day Mother suffered her first seizure. I have never witnessed anything like this and I’m not even sure how I remained calm? And although I want to get everything out in the open, I find myself unable to go into detail… for many a long hour we (my Father and I) sat helpless unable to do anything and unwilling to leave her side, until exhaustion overwhelmed us both and we had to retire.

That is how it started (2016) and how it continued… mums health declined rapidly and after six weeks in hospital she was sadly diagnosed with dementia and we had to accept the fact that she would not be coming home. We were in a system then! A long complicated string of red tape, forms and assessments, questions on top of questions,  all these policies and procedures sucking the life out of you… consuming time and money as the journey to get mum settled in a nursing home began. With language so twisted in a way that concerned my elderly Father, we muddled through as best we could… but while we were chasing paperwork,  mum was becoming lost to us…

We wrote letters, so many letters, to everyone mum had ever known and so few replies… Though there was a bright brilliant ray of light in this gloom which presented us with hope,  a chance to move mum closer to us, under the caring watchful eye of a close family friend.  For this I shall be forever grateful… mum had been struggling,  suffering,  her health (mentally and physically) was fast fading and heartbreaking to watch, with several more visits into hospital,  several more fits and seizures, several more close encounters with mortality…

We, thankfully, got her moved, somewhere closer, somewhere safer, somewhere that cared about each resident not bloody money!! And even though we knew in our hearts that mum would never really be mum again, she shone just a little,  just enough, in small valuable fragments of lucidity…

The beginning of the end came with a 2am phone call, another hospital visit and the deeply shocking, unnerving hemorrhage… again I chose to skip details here, save for the stench of blood,  I’ve never smelt something so strong,  so distinctive and so disturbing… I hope never to smell  (or see) such extensive bleeding ever again!!

I’m sad to say, this marked the beginning of the end and mum never fully recovered from this … we got her back to the nursing home though, instead of in hospital… by now she resembled nothing of her former life, she was so fragile,  nothing more than skin stretched over pale bones, wasted away to a hollow shell,  skeletal and restless…

Last Tuesday mum lost her fight, last Tuesday I was at a gig (my first night out in ages), the Christmas party at the nursing home was in full swing, it was the 13th… a full moon… all these details kinda stay with you  … and mum finally found her peace.

Nearly a year later… in that time I watched my bubbly bonnie mum become a skeleton…
… but I will never *ever* forget the kindness we all received from one individual, and subsequently a team of staff, who helped us make mums final months more comfortable. 

I can’t sleep,  I’ve not slept well in a long time, neither have i really cried… but I am writing all this here, in my safe place, my little corner of the interweb… where I can use words to express the great weight on my chest and hopefully honour the memory of my mother…

Love, Anne Harrison.
20.12.16

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