I’m back at my desk again, after three days absent, staring at my computer screen and listening to the drilling from the window to the left of me. (Only another year and a month until the building work outside will be completed.)
Yesterday I was on annual leave. Rather than decorate a miniature kitchen, my mother and I chose to visit my dear nan. I always have to brace myself when I visit her these days, as she is now in a care home, diagnosed with vascular dementia.
As we walked into the care home’s lounge, with the cheerful peacock wallpaper and the music blaring from the radio, my little nan’s face light up when she saw us. Thank goodness she still recognises us. I dread the day when she looks at us blankly, with no idea who we are and why we are there.
I walked over to her chair and gave her a big hug. Every time I hold her she seems to have shrunk in size. She was well dressed, my nan always cared about things like that. She wore a grey blouse, with pretty beads, and dark trousers. But I couldn’t help thinking she looked lost in her clothes.
There were no empty chairs near by, for my mother and I to sit with her, although we do like to take her for a walk when we see her. As it was a little cold for the garden, my mother said: “Why don’t you show us your new room?” My nan smiled, smiling and laughing is her communication. It’s rare that she is able to say a word, but when she does it can surprise and delight us.
My mum and I tightly held an arm each, as my nan shuffled along to show us her new room.
“Oh look at your room, isn’t it lovely,” I said, as we entered the green room with matching floral curtains and bed spread. She smiled again, as I admired the decor and took in all the pictures of her grand children, and great grand children.
We sat her down on a comfortable chair, my mother sat on the spare chair, and I perched on her bed. A packet of chocolate buttons were taken out of my mums bag, for my nan, and again her face light up. The sweet tooth runs in the family!
My mother and I waffled on with news and stories to tell her. Occasionally my nan would look at us with a far away look in her eyes, but mostly she smiled and laughed and even said the word “yes” a couple of times.
She tires very easily now, and when we noticed her eyes looking heavy, we took her back downstairs where everyone in the lounge was enjoying a hot drink. We left her with a mug of warm milk, provided by the nurse, and hugged and kissed her goodbye.
My mother and I waved at her as we exited the room, saying we would be back again very soon. And then we both took a deep breath as we entered the outside world.
“Just to think, there was a time when we couldn't stop her from talking!” my mother said to lighten the atmosphere between us.
My dear, sweet little nan.
Picture of the day: