Following our visit to see Mum last week I received my usual ‘catch up’ phone call from my sister who informed me that Mum had told her that Robert and I had split up and that I had been to visit her with my ‘new man’! Strangely, he looked just like Robert!
After a week of socialising and watching hours and hours of the Olympics I decided we should take Mum out for the afternoon to Hanbury Hall and was delighted to arrive in beautiful sunshine with a clear blue sky. Mum was on the commode on our arrival being ably assisted by one of her carers so we politely waited outside until she had finished. Her carer informed me that she was having real difficulty standing or walking due to problems with her right ankle which flares up from time to time. It is very difficult to know if this is real or imaginary or related to her peripheral neuropathy.
She was keen to go out so I put her make up on and we managed to get her into her wheelchair. She was in very good spirits and although she didn’t appear to recognise Robert initially she laughed when I told her we had been married for 17 years and asked what she had been doing all that time!
The Worcestershire countryside was at it’s very best. Many of the fields had been harvested with the rolls of hay lying in the field waiting to be collected.
Mum chatted happily to ‘herself’ all the way to Hanbury Hall. When we arrived the car park looked a bit busy and she declared that it was far too busy and demanded we take her home again! When I explained that we had come to see the gardens and have lunch she readily agreed to get out of the car and somehow we managed to get her into her wheelchair.
The gravel paths are very bumpy but she was very good-natured about it and laughed when we saw a man nearly fall over. ‘we shouldn’t laugh at someone else’s misfortune’ she giggled. She stopped and looked in wonder at the formal garden and said how beautiful it looked. Later when we saw the same garden again, she stopped and said the same thing as if it had been the first time she had seen it.
Robert pushed her around the grounds and she chatted away quite happily.
We stopped for lunch in the outdoor cafeteria. Robert went inside to fetch some sandwiches, coffee and cakes. ‘Where has everyone gone?’ she asked!
Over lunch we chatted to her about our week, the Olympics and all the countries she had visited with Dad. She asked me where her cousin Auntie Jean was and I explained that she had died 3 years ago. ‘did I know that ?’ she asked. I told her that she did and she said ‘ well I expect I have forgotten the things I didn’t want to remember.’
I had given her a straw sun hat to wear which she loved and she said to me ‘ now don’t go losing that hat – it belongs to my sister.’ I reminded her that she didn’t have a sister to which she replied she is not my real sister, she is my Love sister. She loves me and I love her. I told her that I had never heard of that before and she laughed ‘ nor have I’ she said.
She mentioned my Dad Howard on one or two occasions and suddenly said ‘where is Howard?’I pointed up to heaven. ‘You mean he is dead?’ she asked. ‘Yes, and he has been for nearly 25 years.’ ‘No wonder I can’t remember’ she replied!
She enjoyed her lunch and we went for a further stroll round the gardens. She chatted away about all sorts of things and as different people. One such conversation went as follows
‘ You know I had a bad fall the other day. Well I had to go and see my GP who said it was the worst bruise he had seen on a man of my age. I had a headache for 2 days. Anyway, Joan how are you?’
‘ Oh, I am very well. I haven’t had any falls for ages!’
We spent a few hours wandering round the gardens and returned to the car around 4 30pm. On the way back she declared that she was very tired and wanted to go to bed. Robert asked her if she had had a good day. ‘I have had a prefect day ‘ she replied and when I get back and snuggle into bed with my lovely husband, it really will be The Perfect Day.’ She then went on to tell someone that she had a terminal illness and that she would be dead within 6 months. She hoped that a few friends and family would come to her funeral and afterwards that they would all go out and have a Perfect a Day as this had been. You can’t ask for much more than that.