This is the fourth time I’ve written about Christmas for the demented. The first two times I arranged it at my mother’s she was well enough to enjoy critiquing my efforts, mostly approvingly, though I scored poorly on a few fronts.
Last year Christmas was cancelled by the doctor on Christmas Eve when she became dangerously hysterical. She phoned frequently through the day, although sedated, to express her opinion that I would go to hell and deserved the trip. We had Christmas a week later when she was better.
This year the arrangements are that we will meet the expectant parents and the great granddaughter at the care home for an hour in the afternoon and that I will take the present, that we will turn up early to child-proof the room and ring the S&H and tribe to warn if she is dangerous.
I could already feel the problems drifting in the wind.
I had decorated her room including a brightly coloured stuffed elf to sit in the Victorian fireplace, which is black. The plan to which she wholeheartedly agreed, after I had washed the fireplace and put the elf there, was that she should, in addition to the main present, enjoy giving the elf to her great granddaughter. We left her last week talking to the elf. By Tuesday it had become a present someone had given her and it was her elf and no one was getting it and anyone who was thinking of parting her and the elf had another think coming.
Last night she rang at ten to explain for an hour how ill she was.
And today when we arrived she wouldn’t get out of bed. It took me ten minutes or so to find out how to fill her hot water bottles. They used to be microwave bottles but they were banned after reports of explosions during heating, which was a pity because there is a tiny kitchen along the hall from her room with a microwave in it. Today I couldn’t find a kettle anywhere but finally located a hot water boiler for tea making and filled up the bottles. Back in her room I placed one by each foot.
She lay in bed hardly speaking. This is bad. You know my mother is really ill when she goes quiet.
Four days to go and she is lying in bed not speaking.
The OH has arranged to go to some hard-drinking friends on Christmas night and do some hard drinking. After we come back from whatever occurs between a one and a half hour drive there and and a one and a half hour drive back.
I think I remember Christmas being a happy time instead of a worrying time or a lonely time but that was a long time ago.
The rising of the sun and the running to and fro.