Monday, 21 December 2009


I went to see my my mother on Sunday morning, using the charity van, after I dropped off three large boxes of cat food at Carol's. The main roads weren't too bad but the side roads were. The two-lane Washington Highway was down to one, apart from one idiot in a landrover. but it didn't take me much longer than usual to get to Low Fell. I did park the van on the main road rather than try it up the very steep bank to Hawkesbury House. I'd brought a large tin of biscuits for the staff and a token presentation box of fancy soap, chocolates and card for my mother.

While she smiled at me, she showed no interest in the bag I gave her. She seems to lost the abilility, or will, to speak instead just making sounds that might be words but aren't. She reacted to little, really only the staff member who pressed a cup of tea against her mouth which she briefly accepted and drank. Most of the short time I spent there, she just looked down at her feet. The most she would do was sometimes smile when I talked to her. After twenty minutes I gave up and came home.

This afternoon, about half an hour ago, Jackie, the manager, phoned me. My mother had taken a turn for the worse so they'd put her to bed and rang the doctor who, without seeing her, suggested that she be taken to hospital. Jackie rang me because, as next of kin I have to authorise this, or not. While she couldn't give me direct advice, from what she said it seemed to me that my mother would get more personal care and attention by people who knew her than on an unfamiliar hospital ward. I did say that if the doctor actually saw her and still recommended hospitalisation then I'd go along with it.

But really I'd sooner have her slip away peacefully in a place where she's comfortable as that seems the kindest thing to do. On Jackie's advice I'll ring the home late tomorrow morning for a status report.

When my mother does go, I'll have no other close relations left on her side of the family. On the other side I have a half-sister I've never met and two cousins I haven't seen in over 30 years. If I hadn't met Susan I think I'd be feeling very lonely right now.

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