In the car, Mum turned to me and asked, casually, how things were “back home” and then asked after the health of a couple of relatives who have been dead for 12 and 30 years, respectively. My heart sank a little: Mum was trying to prove competence again, which is seldom a wise tactic on her part because she inevitably proves just the opposite.
Or maybe she was just time travelling again and was visiting a time when these relatives were alive - in that case, who was I?
At the Church, I helped Mum down the steps and we shuffled up the aisle, past our remaining family. I saw a couple of them visibly shocked at the transformation in Mum as I helped her gingerly into a pew. For her part, it didn’t seem like Mum recognised anyone at all.
After the Service and the confetti and photographs, we made our way to the Reception venue (a 20 minute car journey). En route, Mum asked me 6 times where we were planning to go for lunch. Each time she had no recollection of a wedding or where we might therefore be going. Irritated, she took to pointing out things in the villages we passed through, saying how she’d seen whatever it was last week and was amazed that it hadn’t moved. This is something I’ve noticed Mum doing for about 6 years now – she experiences unshakable déjà-vu and treats my logical proofs that she’s never been there before with unconcealed disdain.
At the Reception, Mum ate unenthusiastically, glancing at me in her inscrutable way and replying in the vaguest terms to questions from other guests. She lasted longer than I had anticipated, but a couple of hours after the meal she’d had enough and suddenly asked to go.
As we said our goodbyes, I stood beside her and quietly announced each person as they came up to her, but she didn’t seem to register either names or faces. She didn’t even appear to understand the significance of the girl standing in front of her wearing a big white meringue…
Safely installed back at the Home, Mum gained confidence and gave me the first true smile of the day. I sat with her for an hour or so and she regaled me with the usual stories about the other residents. Here she was happy and engaged and interested in what was going on around her, in a way that had been lacking all day.
[*a continuously-updated document stating Mum's memories, relationships, life events and her wishes and needs]