As I wheel the suitcase towards the door I am anxious. I know that some of the windows have eyes that watch from behind the net curtains. One of the flimsy pieces of lace material flaps around the window which has been placed open to allow the breeze to blow in. It has tangled around the catch and has now torn, the strands hang down and have a more ethereal effect as they move in the wind. I am distracted for a moment and then remember why I am here. I have been dreading this day for months, it is final, permanent, no going back. Could this be the day that I am seen from their vantage point? I hold my breath as I ring the doorbell. I can hear some shuffling of feet from behind the door, one of the residents is trying to pull the door handle open but cannot and is growing frustrated, I can hear a garbled sound and then a stronger more forceful request asking someone to come away from the door. My stomach turns as I hear a voice call to me that they “Will only be a minute” and to “Wait”. I reflect whilst waiting, how earlier that day I had lovingly and with grief in my heart sorted and folded the clothes from the wardrobe and placed them in the suitcase. I am reminded of times when the clothes were worn and the memories they evoke. There was the scent of someone I love all around me as the clothes were packed away. As the door now opens a tear falls down my cheek. I take a deep breath and wait for maybe that moment of recognition and with it the stream of accusations and abuse but it doesn’t come. My Mum is stood behind her carer and her eyes fall on me but there is nothing there today. Today all Mum sees is the suitcase and although she doesn’t see her daughter she sees what today’s visit means and she looks behind me and sees the cardboard boxes that now surround me as whilst I was waiting and whilst I have been recalling the past, my husband, her son-in-law, has off-loaded boxes and a chair and some other pieces of furniture from the car. Just a few pieces of one human’s life possessions spread over the tarmac driveway and the grey granite doorstep. No words, there are no words. I cannot even go in now and help her unpack them, I cannot create the warm space I have envisaged the last few days, a room filled with floral bedding and soft toys, china for her dresser, and photo frames filled with pictures of a family she cannot for the most part remember. We turn and walk back to the car and I cry all the way home. Later I ring and ask after Mum and I am told she too has been very upset and has had someone with her comforting her all afternoon. Tomorrow I will ring again and I am sure she will not remember much if anything of today. That is the gift for her as she slips further into dementia yet for me and those left behind the loss of our Mum is some days unbearable.
And yet in this Spiritual Understanding I believe, I feel, Mum’s soul connecting with mine . As I humanly experience all the emotions of grief and loss, I know that Mum will always be present and surround us all with love .
I recall her saying “You look after yourself and your little family , that is what is important. I never want you to look after me, put me in a home dear if I lose my marbles , put me in a home ”