When I tell people my mum has dementia they invariably say,
“Does she still know who you are?”
She does when I hug her and hold her close and tell her I love her. Her brain may not remember my name but her body can feel that she loves me. I know it.
The gift of dementia is that I have had four years to say goodbye to my beautiful mama. Four years to create new memories and remember some of her old ones. To hear the same stories again and again so the family history is firmly locked in my brain until it is my turn to fade away.
Four years to hold her hands and tell her that she is still a devoted mother. Four years of visits to calm the madness rush of single mother life in my head while I put her hand in mine. Four years of quiet afternoons to sit with her in silence while I rub hand cream into her old dry hands. Four years of cups of tea and bickies. Four years of running away from the nursing home in tears with a broken heart while remembering all the small ways she loved me. Four years to be reminded how she cared for our dogs, yelled at me over homework, washed our clothes, fed us endless dinners and sang in the kitchen.
Mumma loved her career before kids but she loved us more. Her four kids and seven grandchildren were her life’s work. Having our family was the greatest joy of her life.
Four years of stories shared with whoever else came to visit. Four years being able to take in her I am your mother and I’m not going anywhere fierceness, and four years to realise that I don’t care any more about our differences, fights over my clothing and hairdos and politics, I feel grateful that she cared enough to argue with me.
Four years to look at old photos and realise what she built for us. Four years to be reminded that she introduced me to Stevie Wonder and Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald and taught me how to sing.
My mum interviewed Squizzy Taylor and met Frank Sinatra and talked to colourful Sydney racing identities and was invited to all the best parties when she wrote the social pages. And still my dad, my brothers and sister and I and our kids were the best part of her life. Not all kids get to have a mumma like mine.
Some families have their loved ones snatched away in an instant, but I’ve had time to be with her and hug her tight and tell her how much she means to me.
In the past year she has wet her pants and worn her clothes backwards and spilt dinners and tea all over herself. She has let her hair go and not worried about matching her top with her skirt. All the petty little problems of life have slipped away and all that remains is that my mum’s face lights up when my kids and I walk in the room. That is love.
I know my dad is coming to get her soon, they will get to be together again and I have to remember that on the days that I’m missing her so much that I can’t breathe.
My mum was from a family of godbotherers, devout Anglicans who often quoted the bible. This is the only verse I remember from years of reluctant Sunday school attendance (Corinthians)
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Last night I came home late and found this piece of junk mail in my letterbox delivered by the coalition for marriage.
These unChristians could be spending money sheltering homeless people or sending aid to the Rohingya people, Mexico or Puerto Rico, but instead they waste their money on printing their lies about LGBTQIA families, based on made up fairy tales and their limited definition of what it means to be a family. As a single mum, I also object to being told that my family is not the norm.
What is normal? Urban Dictionary says, that normal is a word used as a tool of conformity. It is not normal for Christians to promote hating their fellow man.
Coalition for the disparagement of truth, every word they have printed is a lie. Promoting hate and division is not what Jesus did.
As Maya Angelou said,
“Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in the world, but has not solved one yet.”
I know I’m a catch, and I’d really like to go on an exciting lunch date with you to the hot hip new bar you’re proposing and I’m very keen to pay for your brilliant plan to boost my Instagram account with 10,000 new followers but,
My legs are hairy
The cat has to go to the vet
My pouting tween has left her school uniform on the bus
The Valium isn’t working
I need a long nap
Unless you organise a babysitter, come and pick me up and pay for everything our blooming romance is not going to happen
Please contact me at irresistiblematch.com so you can take a ticket and join the queue of eligible males pining for me
Thank you hot stuff
On Wednesday September 24 and Friday September 26 I’m performing my new stand up comedy show Looking For Mike Brady at The Factory Theatre in Marrickville as part of the 2014 Sydney Fringe Festival. I’m hoping my huge number of fans will bring a car load of eligible males to each show so I can pick a new husband. Third time lucky. Don’t be shy fellas.
Marriage is a relationship in which one person is always right, and the other is a husband.
Very soon, perhaps next week, you can book tickets here: http://www.sydneyfringe.com
HUSBANDABLE – capable of being economically used or fit for cultivation
– Shorter Oxford Dictionary
This year I can’t wait to find the next man I’m going to break up with. Hopefully he won’t call me a ball busting bitch in Bunnings on a Saturday afternoon like the last one did as we stood in the 468 pieces of metal crap aisle, with every DIY lover watching our show. And hopefully he’ll have all his own teeth and a dead mother. Or at least a blind, deaf, mute mother who lives in Uzbekhistan. I live in hope…