Mum was taken out to Lunch today by our Relatives (D&G). I phoned the Home a few times this morning to ensure that Mum had been bathed and had her hair done in the on-site salon, because I knew she'd feel happier if they caught her looking her best. D told me later that the visit was a good one and that Mum looked very well.
Apparently Mum referred to the incident where she called me early on Monday morning. She said "I upset Greg." Now, I didn't get angry with her at the time and certainly not the next time we spoke, so I was a bit embarrassed, but maybe she'll actually remember the lesson if that's the story she tells herself.
Mum's new embellishment to the story, however, disturbs me.
To back-track slightly: when Mum called me at 4:45am her tone was definitely cheerful, as if she was calling me at a normal time. After I had pointed out the inappropriate hour for the 4th or 5th time, however, Mum searched around for an alternative explanation for why she had rung and told me that she was frightened and had called because she could hear people in the hallway coming towards her room (we'd been talking a few minutes by this point). I told her that they would be staff coming to see why she wasn't in bed and that I knew this hadn't been her real motive (it's pointless to argue with someone with short-term memory problems, but sometimes I just DO). Anyway, I told her to open her door and, sure enough, I could hear a staff member asking her if she was alright.
Okay, so today her story was that she'd upset me by calling early, but that she'd only called because she was so frightened by (and this I find shocking) "Negroes coming into my room".
I have never heard my Mum use racist language or ever condone any such language used by anyone around her. I've never heard her use that term. The idea that she would even choose to mention the skin colour of the staff member totally dumbfounds and alarms me. My Mother has mixed with people of many different nations and ethnicities in her life - she lived in Pakistan, in Japan, in India and travelled extensively throughout my Dad's career, taking in every continent. I don't recall her ever being frightened by a skin colour. All I can imagine is that she reverted to some pre-1950s attitude - maybe the sort of language she heard her own parents use.
I haven't got some cute way of ending this entry. I'm speechless.