This leads me to confess something that I've held back on writing about all year. I've considered myself pretty honest and open about everything on this journey, good or bad, but there's one thing that I haven't recorded out of shame and that is what has happened to Mum's clothes.
When I moved Mum into the Home this time last year, she had a very fine wardrobe of clothes - in fact she had so many that her wardrobe doors could not quite be shut. Within about 6 weeks I was noticing that individual items were missing: I'd come to take Mum out for a meal and think "I'll just get Mum's favourite warm top" and it wouldn't be there. The lead Care Worker on Mum's household would say "Oh, it's probably in the Laundry", but these things never turned up again. By Autumn this year there seemed never to be anything in Mum's wardrobe at all, and I noticed that Mum's jewelry box had been forced open by someone who couldn't work out the hidden catch. Mum was invariably wearing something that I didn't recognise when I visited, and I felt dreadful about it. However, since Mum was content and oblivious to all of this, I didn't mention it to her.
But, you see, it's all my fault: I should have labelled all Mum's clothing before she arrived. I had, in fact, bought sew-in labels over the internet and had them ready. But in the days before she went into the Home, when she was living with me, I was run so ragged in dealing with Mum minute-by-minute that this was the one last job for which I never found time, and I handed Mum and her clothes over to the staff in a state of exhaustion.
I've since felt so guilty about all Mum's lovely clothes going missing. I know they weren't lost in the laundry - someone took them and I think I know who. I arrived unannounced once and walked into Mum's room to find the lead Care Worker coming out of Mum's en-suite bathroom with the jewel box in her hands. I can't prove anything and I don't want to cause any problems because this is someone who is very attentive to Mum and is the only person Mum knows by name. I know that Care Staff aren't highly paid, and I'm sure it's tempting to relieve someone like Mum of her nice things since she is unlikely to notice.
So, along with the hundreds of pounds of clothing I bought yesterday,
I bought a laundry pen and sat in a car park writing
Mum's room number and name on the washing tags of each and every top, cardigan, slip and panty. I have no illusions that this will prevent the cashmere cardigan from disappearing, for example, but at least this time I've done what I can.