Bittersweet

The car parked, up the hill I went in the rain, again. The code number entered, sign in and then off in search of my mother. Nearly a year now since dementia and failing health brought her to this nursing home, better than most, but still not home. A quick look round the living room at the men and women snoozing in chairs. No mum there dwarfed by the overstuffed armchair. So tiny and frail she is these days – I always feel I could scoop her in my arms and hardly strain to do it.

Not there I check with one of the busy staff walking by who points me towards the dining room. There sits my mum at a table, completely still, eyes closed holding one of the cold cut pieces of toast in her hand. She looks like a spell has been cast upon her, a character in a children’s story, turned to stone. Completely still, caught mid motion. I touch her arm gently and she wakes, smiles in recognition and says hello. The relief of being recognised. I smile back and quietly prompt her back to her breakfast. She eats slowly. I talk. She understands and responds sometimes. Often not.

Later back in the room with the overstuffed chairs and sofas, the heat and the snoozers, I hold her hand as she snoozes too. My mum.

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A new year approaches

imageLooking back on 2013 with a mixture of feelings – pleasure and sadness, pride and disappointment, connectedness and aloneness.

The year Mandela died. Memories of watching him dance in Glasgow mixed with memories of a marriage now over.  The life Mandela lived was like no other.  A reminder of what’s possible.

Ahead lies the opportunity to surprise myself and others, to love and be loved, to share, to learn, to explore, to stay healthy, to give, to meditate, to contribute, to make a difference. All possible if I choose it to be.

Here’s to 2014.

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