The 8 years I cared for my mother left me with many cherished memories. Mum had a small stroke 2 years after dad passed away. After discharge from hospital she came to stay with me ‘whilst we thought things over’ – and stayed with me for the rest of her life! Even now, nearly 10 years later, I think back over those happy times. Mum loved my house and garden; above all she felt safe, she trusted me. She had always been good fun to her young children, full of ideas and involved in many social activities. She never lost this ‘fun attitude’ to life.
What do I remember best? Mum looked forward to my brother coming to help care and her pleasure at exchanging family gossip. Her involvement in my social life – including helping get ready for the village show - and chatting to visitors. I particularly remember mum’s cooking skills; She took lessons at Cordon Bleu standard and taught me the basics. I have photos of mum with her wonderful smile, helping in the kitchen to get ready for parties. More photos show her sitting in the garden whilst I mowed the lawns and looking after the flowers. On rare occasions, I would go camping and botanising in the French-Spanish Pyrenees. My brother took over the care responsibilities and kept mum up to date where I was and what I was doing. I kept an album of her 80th birthday which, together with other photos, is now a special treasure.
Of course, there were some difficult times, when mum was poorly, afraid for the future or if some unkind person was rude to her. But these times were vastly outweighed by the happy times. A doctor once commented ‘Your mother is happier than I have ever seen her’ - another of my cherished memories.