As at the point of drafting this, my Mum is in likely last-stage Alzheimer’s Disease. She’s had, as I see it, rapid-onset dementia because a couple of years ago all she had was poor memory. We don’t know how many days are left so I’m currently staying away from my wife and three-year-old to support my Dad. But after my last visit to Mum, I had a snapshot line in my head.
31st March 2020
Since writing this just a month and a half ago, my Mum finally passed away. Due to my own hospitalisation due to a seizure and the restrictions around Coronavirus, we could not make the 450 mile trip to see my Mum being buried. COVID-19 already deprived Dad of a “proper” funeral, so a short service around the grave took place today.
I asked Dad to get this poem read out today, so that I could be “there” in a way. A family friend did the honours.
Mum is at peace and made whole again. Out there somewhere.
A Poem But Not a Poem
It’s not really a poem, but more stream of consciousness – at least the original draft I posted to Twitter anyway. I’ve since expanded on it. With illnesses of many kinds, but especially those that rob a person of mental capacity, it can be easy to forget who is behind the illness. So here’s my tribute to Mum called In there somewhere..
In There Somewhere
In there somewhere is the woman who took a chance and adopted me.
In there somewhere is a mother who chose to adopt a girl as my sister despite initially saying they would have anyone else but not her.
In there somewhere is an encourager who despaired that she could never stop her son from believing he was never good enough.
In there somewhere is a former pianist and church organist.
In there somewhere is a woman who impacted hundreds of young people through Guiding.
In there somewhere is the mother who worried anytime I wasn’t at home.
In there somewhere is the one for whom no girl was right for her son.
In there somewhere is the one sat nervously in the car during my every clarinet exam.
In there somewhere is the volunteer who had to judge difficult family court cases.
In there somewhere is a dog lover, who show-cased her Afghan Hounds at dog shows.
In there somewhere is the friend who always said “so long as you’re healthy and happy the rest don’t matter”.
In there somewhere is a lover of walks and the outdoors.
In there somewhere is someone who loved family holidays and helped Dad save for our precious trips to Switzerland.
In there somewhere is a person who could never pronounce Fibromyalgia, but learned so much about it.
In there somewhere is a Christian, who believed what God said.
In there somewhere is a lady of average build who was always convinced she was fat, but knew she was loved.
In there somewhere is a fighter-for-family, ready to defend all of us to her own detriment, if required.
In there somewhere is a cake-builder who made ornate flowers from icing, a leaning tower of Pisa wedding cake and a chocolate cake for wifey to eat when my back was turned when we just got married.
In there somewhere is a grammar school student who left school early to go work, not finishing her qualifications.
In there somewhere is a hairdresser, a hairdressing shop owner and a vocal critic of hideously-dyed hair.
This illness has caused all those things to cease.
The person is not lost, but hidden. Because in there somewhere is my Mum, who I’ll see again on the other side somehow.
Out there somewhere.
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