Friday, 1 August 2008
back to school
I haven't seen Mum for a few weeks and I can't go this weekend.
Even though I've already visited her more times this year than the past 5 put together, it's hard not to feel guilty.
I give her a call. As usual, at the other end it sounds like they're having a great time, laughing away at something as Mum comes to the phone.
"Bums on seats!" I hear someone call out as Mum settles herself.
We have the usual generic conversation, necessary as she can't recall anyone's name there or any activities she may have been engaged in. Typically, Mum gets caught up in the conversation around her for a bit and I'm left with one side of the discussion until she's prompted to talk to me again.
I'm just telling her that I'll visit her next weekend when she stuns me with: "Yes, it's difficult for you with you being at boarding school, isn't it? When you come it can only be for a few hours."
This is another example of Mum explaining the world to herself with the available fragments of memory. It's 33 years since I was at boarding school (a miserable and traumatic period for me), where I was only allowed out for a few hours on a Sunday.
Recently I've tended to visit on a Sunday and my visits have typically been from lunchtime through to early evening. So I can see why that particular jigsaw piece seemed like a good fit for her.
It's still a shock whenever she does this, though. And shocking in the context of our family, where my incarceration has never been discussed as it used to upset me so much. Her mention of it felt like a slap but I know it was entirely innocent.
The irony is not lost on me that I've now been the one to uproot her and place her in a Home not so very far from that dreadful institution...