I'm out of the bath by the time she gets it right. She tells me that everything is fine. She wants to know when I'm visiting next as it "has been a while" but then, when I protest, she claims to remember my visit last Sunday. She tells me that she'll have to go as she needs the toilet. I've worked out that this is her subconscious strategy to avoid facing that she's got anything wrong.
30 minutes later she's back on the line and sounds down in the dumps. I ask if the Screaming Lady is giving her a bad time. No, she says, but someone phoned her with some bad news. She can't remember who it was, but she names one of her relatives and says that the caller told her that he's very ill. Now, this relative died just after Christmas, and I know for a fact that Mum has been told the news 3 times since. I gently remind her and she claims to remember, and says she needs the toilet and that it's only because her life is so hectic nowadays that she made the mistake. Hectic?
As we end the call, I suddenly remember a conversation we once had when I was a teenager. Mum was talking about my childhood and the amazing places we lived while my Dad worked abroad.
"Whatever happens, Greg, no-one can take your memories away from you. You'll always have them."
Funny I should remember that now.