Face to face, chatting. Telephone. Skype. Email. Text. Blogging. FaceBook. Twitter. Letters. Messaging. Notes. Newspapers. Magazines. Television. Radio.

How do you communicate? What skills do you use?

Speech, touch, sight, listening, typing or writing.

Herself can’t speak much, or write, or see much. Often we ‘chat’ on the phone and that means me burbling about what’s going on here, and Herself making some sort of random noise in response. Sometimes it’s a grunt, sometimes it’s like a kitten purr. The odd time we can work out a word. So much of it is guess work and interpretation, with a bit of luck and a fair wind aiding us.

My mum’s brain isn’t sending the right messages to her body and so she’s becoming ever more paralysed. She has therapists of all shades and disciplines. Her cognitive processing is slowed, so it can take longer to grasp hold of idea. Her behaviour can be irrational, leading to her escaping/ toppling from the wheelchair and ending up in hospital. She’s been moved to the room closest to the nurses’ station in the home to help with her safety. She has sides on the bed, a clip on alarm, alarmed mats and needs the help of two people to move safely, but still she’ll try to do it on her own. Strong, stubborn, independent, infuriating, bewildering, distressing, wonderful woman that she is.

Herself and Herself's Handsome Husband

What is amazing though, is how on top of things she manages to be. She was able to remind me to get birthday cards for the Nephew. She enjoys the conversation around her and will interject with a word here and there. It might take us a while to figure out what the word is, but it’s always appropriate and shows that she’s still involved. A while ago the Brother and I were with her, and chatting generally about primary schools. Herself interjected. Eventually we understood a phrase ‘Mother Kevin’. This meant nothing to the Brother, but from the back of my head came tales of a witch of a teacher. A nun from 60 years ago who put fear in the hearts of Herself and all my uncles and aunts when they were little. The memories and the emotions are all there.

Right now, touch is the best way to communicate- hugs, hand holding, helping her put on moisturiser. We can convey love, care and affection; it’s just not great for detail.


8 thoughts on “communication

  1. I suppose it’s a lot about not being in a rush. Just slowing down and listening to the person who is still there with you.

  2. For me, the big thing was washing Mam’s feet, and doing her nails. There was so much I couldn’t do for her, but I did that faithfully. It was also a way of being together without trying to talk.

  3. I enjoy these visits with your mother. Not something I’ve had to deal with, but I’m learning from you. And I’m also reminded to keep in touch with my own parents, who can talk to me – reminding me to be more diligent at closing the distance between us with phone calls and letters.

  4. Such a constant struggle to communicate reminds me of how much we take communication for granted. My sister has motor neurone disease and also struggles to communicate, even though her brain is still 100 per cent. She can’t speak but she’s fine with email.

  5. It’s so much to do with making the best of what you have. There’s always a new challenge. PSP is robbing Herself of such a lot, and that can be hard to witness, but we muddle through somehow. 🙂

  6. Gracious, Speccy, thought for a minute I had duplicated your blog material: but I’ve posted about the FaceTime application and speaking face to face online.
    This was beautiful, as usual. Herself is clearly the most beautiful person and your relationship with her profound. Life is never simple, but people like your Mum make it extraordinary.

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