Yesterday was finally time to visit Herself, without panicking her. She’d had a bad week in bed, mostly unresponsive to staff and visitors. The children were warned that she hadn’t been feeling well, so might be a bit tired. I was anxious to get there, but terrified of what we would find. The trip home had happened, but she’d seemed to be asleep the whole time.
Much to our delight Herself was out of bed, dolled up, make up on, doing a good impression of herself. The girls performed party pieces, singing and dancing round her, and put up pictures they’d made on the walls of the new ‘sickest person in the nursing home’ room. She clapped, smiled and posed for photographs. She was exhausted, but putting on such a show for us.
When we returned after lunch, she was in bed with the curtains pulled. No dancing or posing. She wants us to get a priest, reminded me where she’s to be buried and reckoned that I’d be being ‘sent for’ soon. She asked for the nurse and he had to use suction to clear her throat of excess saliva and gunk. It seemed that there was to be no bright spot in the afternoon. All the reserves had been used up in the morning’s performance.
Employing that well worn strategy of hiding behind jollity, I bounded into the room after the nurse left announcing that “I’m sure you’re all clear and ready to sing for us now!” I sat down, took her hand, and started to sing myself. Some of you will know that this is a sign of enthusiasm on my part, not to be mistaken as a pleasure for the listener. But hey, she’s my mother; she knows this and loves me anyway. It’s still her job to listen to me singing. I was singing that 70s, em, classic tune- sing, sing a song, make it simple to last your whole life long.
Well, didn’t she join in? ‘don’t worry that it’s not good enough for anyone else to hear, just sing, sing a song.’ She can hardly speak, but she can join in a song?