Tomorrow …

….. will be my mother’s 80th birthday.

The birthday cardigan has been knitted and wrapped.

2013-11-27_18-32-31_240This year we took Heidi Kirrmaier’s lovely pattern Rocky Road and we tweaked it just a little. Instead of three patterns repeated in bands we made every band different, and my mum picked the patterns she liked from a stitch directory. She loved that, it gave her a real involvement, and it sparked some lovely conversations when she was sitting in the lounge.

And she picked the yarn, RYC Cotton jeans in a lovely marled shade of blue. It’s the nicest cotton I have ever knit with and though the pattern doesn’t pop as it might, I don’t think that’s entirely a bad thing. It means that it’s not a ‘look at me’ cardigan, but knitters will spot the details ….

(One day I’ll get a decent camera and I won’t be rushing around at last minute to get a picture, but it hasn’t happened yet.)

An announcement has appeared in our local paper, with a photograph of my mum and Briar that she particularly likes. I’ve hung a pinboard in her room and put up some nice family photographs, and every time I see her in her room she points to that one and tells me what a good picture it is. So that one and her wedding picture stay, and I change the others from time to time.

untitledFlowers have been ordered, because she has always loved them, and because I notice that she is always very aware of the things around her, and because I know she will still appreciate that ‘specialness’ of having flowers delivered.

And I have taken the day off so we can visit in the morning, because I know that’s the time of day when she’s at her brightest.

I think that’s the nicest birthday I can make for her.

I miss the days when we had birthdays at home. She loved an old fashioned high tea and a special cake, and I can still picture her sitting at the aga room table grinning from ear to ear.

And visiting a nursing home – however good the nursing home is – is just a visit, it’s not the same as being a family at home.

I miss the days when she would remember. Moving to a nursing home was the right thing, she needed the support, and in a strange way she’s more herself now she’s been freed from day to day concerns. Even though the dementia often leaves her confused, even though she’ll forgets so quickly.

I’m luckier than some daughters though, because she remembers me, she’s always pleased to see me, and she trusts me to remember things for her.

And I can still make happy moments, and I that think they stick, that the warmth lingers even if the memories that created don’t.


16 responses

  1. That is indeed a lovely photo of your Mum with Briar. How thoughtful of you to include her in the cardigan decisions, from stitches to colour. Getting flowers is special and having them delivered is just divine. I do think you have done all you could, good daughter, to make her day special.

  2. Your mom is lovely and so are you! This was so sweet. Today, after Thanksgiving dinner, we drove over to my dad’s nursing home and spent some time with him. It’s been a long time since he really knew who we were, (though I think he knows my mom) but he still responds to having people around him, and being with him brings so many wonderful memories to us – so, in a way, it’s kind of the same thing. The connection isn’t lost!

  3. Lovely photo and lovely post. Your mum is lucky to have you as a daughter and it’s so lovely that she still knows you. A work colleague’s mum is younger than yours and suffers from dementia too, yet has no idea who her daughter is. The cardigan is beautiful too, and I hope you both have a lovely day.

  4. What a lovely lady, and what a thoughtful daughter. Have a very very happy birthday, and many more to come. Best wishes, Phil Young

  5. Jane, thank you for sharing this with us, especially the photos. The cardigan is beautiful, and I know she will love wearing it! What a lovely birthday you have planned, all things to bring her joy as you celebrate with her.

  6. Many happy returns for your mum. Thanks you for sharing a personal post with us. I know how much your mum means to you by reading this and I know how difficult it must be to see her in a nursing home. I hope perhaps you have an afternoon tea in her honour, even if she isn’t there I am sure she will love knowing you are enjoying a tradition.

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