12 January 2022, The Tablet

I hope St Anthony helps God find Mum soon, because her bags are packed

I hope St Anthony helps  God find Mum soon, because her bags are packed

My mother has vascular dementia. Her memory of people and places long past is sharp, but her geriatrician tells me: “Your mother’s brain cannot make new memories.” I’d never heard it expressed like that before. It was helpful and freeing. My brother Peter and I had hoped that our mother’s final years would be enjoyable and serene. She deserved it. By most people’s standards, Mum has had more than a few heavy crosses to bear. Her own mother died in childbirth when Mum was 18 months old. She had only been married eight years when her husband had a cerebral berry aneurysm and dropped dead. She was left a 32-year-old widow. Peter was seven. Our sister Tracey was five. I was two.

Mum never remarried. She never seriously looked for another husband. “I was a catch, but I had the three of you,” she would joke. In 1988, Tracey had a catastrophic car accident and was rendered a quadriplegic. She was 28. Mum was 56. After she had spent the best part of a year in the spinal unit, Mum nursed Tracey at home for the next 27 years, rising every night at midnight, 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. to turn her daughter. Tracey never got a bed sore.

Get Instant Access

Continue Reading

Register for free to read this article in full

Subscribe for unlimited access

From just £30 quarterly

  Complete access to all Tablet website content including all premium content.
  The full weekly edition in print and digital including our 179 years archive.
  PDF version to view on iPad, iPhone or computer.

Already a subscriber? Login