I should have known it wouldn’t last.
The visit this week, just the day before yesterday was, as usual exhausting, though as my mother was in very rare grateful mode on occasion, it was not as exhausting as usual. My mother remarked how good the garden was looking at lunch as we sat facing the French windows. For November it is terrific, the clematis I planted has three flowers on it, the rose I pruned is flowering, the urns and pots I filled with cyclamen are in full display and the alstromeira, after a slow start when I planted it in a huge pot the summer before last, is blooming and lovely. As we lunched my mother remarked while masticating how lovely the garden was and how well she had done with it. She didn’t know what the name was of the large perennial she had planted, was it Stocks? yes it was, but she had done particularly well with that, how clever she was. I said ‘Alstromeira’ which after several goes she managed to pronounce and then congratulated herself on planting it, together with a long description of how she had filled the pot with seasonal flowers until the big plant, what was its name? had taken hold, how very clever of her.
So everything in the garden was lovely. I sat on the settee beside her chair and chatted, or, to be more exact, listened. I had taken the scrapbook I made of Miniatura. She sat and read that while I dealt with the post, which mainly consists of ripping up all the begging letters from charities, many of which are still from those I have corresponded with directly to tell them they are begging from an insane 89 year old and please would they stop. At the end of the visit we had tea and cake and left, not quite as tired as usual. I rang after we’d got back home and had tea, as usual and was instructed to thank my other half for the newspaper, which he always leaves and the driving and give him a kiss from her, which was pretty much a world first, as she has hated him thoroughly ever since she first laid eyes in him.
The following morning she was still quite happy but when the phone rang at half past nine last night I had a feeling in my water we were in for a rough ride. I was not disappointed. The newish carer had rung my number and handed my mother the phone whereupon she launched into a diatribe, and when I tried to speak slammed down the phone on me. I was upset and found it really hard to settle down to glazing the porcelain afterwards.
This morning I rang as she was just going into the shower. I managed about three words with the carer to outline briefly what has happened the previous night when my mother snatched the phone off her and shouted that she was not going to put up with a repetition of my evil remarks of last night and slammed the phone down as I was protesting that I hadn’t had a chance to speak last night.
The carer rang and left a message on my other half’s mobile to remind me that this was the progression of dementia. I subsequently rang the office to ask that my mother’s phone be unplugged from the wall at night. If she rang and had a go at her sister or sister-in-law, or even my older cousins who are now in their seventies, it is not beyond the bounds of belief that they could drop dead with a heart attack. It is terribly distressing. In the office there was an opinion that my mother is being nasty and insisting that she is dying and I have to move in, in order to prevent me doing the show because she knows it is important to me. This could be true. All of my life my mother has been hot on destruction; she spent my entire childhood telling me no one would love me, and as I had been left in a children’s home, I believed her. Then she destroyed my metabolism by locking me up and starving me repeatedly and then when I went into a depression prevented me from doing the uni course that I had earned a place at on the strength of my O levels. It was Drama at Bristol. I still wish I had been allowed to do it. So although aggression is demented behaviour, it is also a progression of aspects of my mother’s personality that were there already. Although my mother-in-law was aggressive towards her husband, insisting he was having an affair, the aggressive stage was short lived because she was basically a gentle person. There is also possibly evidence that the causes of this behaviour might be the demented person projecting their fears onto innocent bystanders, in the case of both women here that they might be left. In the case of my mother it is true that fewer and fewer friends are visiting, there are really only two left, they arrive about once every three months. The family have mostly stopped even phoning. All of this is completely understandable, as the disease progresses it very definitely becomes a damage limitation exercise. I wish I could limit the damage to me.
Back here the other half had a bit of a set to about the car and golf. I want to do another practice drive to the show hall which he found inconvenient. He did arrange a lift to golf but kept coming back into the bathroom where I was washing my hair to be exasperated. He has left the car, for which I am grateful. Although he will never admit it he does know he trashed my driving skills deliberately so I would only be able to drive him to the pub. He is very angry too this morning, because after the upset with my mother last night he, predictably, headed out as fast as he could go.
I am surrounded by people who have deliberately damaged their brains by alcoholic dehydration. Whilst I am grateful that I am adopted and do not have the genetic propensity to do this, and beyond grateful that my son, after a shaky few years at Uni lived long enough at home for me to be sure that he is following my path and not any other, I am still perplexed.
Why would human beings take the most amazing thing in the incredible universe that we know about so far, namely the human brain, and deliberately destroy and pervert it, with war, with aggression, with acts of insanity, with hatred, with drugs, with alcohol, with self indulgence, with inactivity?
Sleep enough, move plenty, breathe fresh air and never stop learning. Love your brain and nourish it. I have close at hand two examples of destroyed brains. Please believe me, you don’t want one of those.
JaneLaverick.com – perplexed.