Week Fifteen

Simon has gone to Uncle Peter’s funeral. I would have liked to be with him to say Goodbye. I should have liked to have been there in November too, for Peter’s wife’s funeral. This is one of the challenges of having Mammy here – that we can’t do things as a family, because Mum’s needs are so specific and respite needs to be booked long in advance.

When I went to wake her this morning she was already awake, half undressed, quilt piled up behind her, crying at the edge of the bed. It is a pitifully sad sight.

“Whatever is the matter?” I asked.

“I didn’t know where you were!” she snivelled.

“I was asleep in the next bedroom. I’m here now. Come and get dressed before you freeze.” I tried to reassure her, but I was simultaneously irritated by her and upset for her. I don’t feel that I have much more of myself to give, but she is needing ever more of me.

It is just after 2pm; the morning’s blue sky and strong smelling ultra-violet have covered over with dark grey and a snow gale is blowing. The Day-Centre has just made an early delivery of a very sorry looking Avril. They said she was very pale and unresponsive and that she wouldn’t eat her lunch, but just sat miserably in the corner.

She thought she ‘was too fat, so didn’t want any dinner…but it didn’t work. I’m just being mardy’, she confessed.

She doesn’t ‘want to be anywhere’ and doesn’t know what she wants.

She’s drinking a cuppa and gazing into the snow rushing horizontally past the window, but she can’t see it…


Mum’s dementia doctor rang this morning to offer Mum an appointment for tomorrow morning at 9am. We will take it. I just hope Conor and the traffic will allow us to make it on time.

Simon has devised an easier way to get Mum to take her evening tablets: he mixes them up in a Weetabix and spoon-feeds it quite rapidly into her. She still finds the tablets in the mixture, but does get them down quite with much less anxiety, so it’s a step forward for now. I don’t know what the ‘Respite’ home will do with them next week.


This morning was blessed. Conor was ready on time and, despite the traffic, we arrived at the hospital with 5 minutes to spare. Being the doctor’s first patients of the day meant that we had no waiting either. The dementia doctor was supportive and very attentive to Mammy. She is happy to see us again in 9 months. Investigations into the dementia are not deemed necessary. Again she stressed that she is more concerned with how well we are coping with the day-to-day. Mammy cried twice during the meeting. The doctor says that the steroids can make one weepy and down. She also said that we should persevere with the ‘Tegretol’. Apparently the ‘frontal lobe type’ dementia is otherwise known as ‘Picks’ dementia, so I will read up on that later.

No matter what the cause of Mum’s condition is, there is no medication or treatment that can help anyway. It feels strange and a little disappointing that after a year of investigations and appointments we have come to an accepted state of ‘no conclusions’.

Anyway, of all the descriptions and information given on the website, I do think that Alzheimer’s is the ‘best-fit’ for Mum’s symptoms.

[See Appendix 1 included at the end of this week’s piece for more interesting and official information]

It may be academic, but such things do affect prognosis for Mum and her daughters.

What happens next?

Part 2 Making a decision

Chapter 11

I became very anxious taking Mum into Broad Glade for respite. I was to pick Ana up later, as she offered to stay with the boys for the half-term week and allow Simon and I to have Thursday to Saturday away together.

Conor accompanied us and he felt Mum’s sadness and disappointment. She really hates me leaving her, despite often enjoying herself when she’s there. I distracted Conor from his grief afterwards, by booking some induction sessions at the gym before going to fetch Ana from the station.


Our Social Worker phoned on Monday morning to say that Broad Glade now have a permanent room available for Mum, if we should want it?

Do we?

We have to take it. My ears were humming and I felt like my head would explode.

Yes, please.

How do I tell Mammy? Will she ever forgive me?

The Social Worker says I must tell Mum before I go away, so I’ll have to go with her on Wednesday morning.

I mused silently until after the dentist and then told Ana and the boys. Conor was very understanding and feels that he has done his bit for Nana too. And she will be close enough to visit whenever we want to.

For the next two days my head was like a Ping-Pong. Relief, guilt, relief; prayer, fear, prayer; emotion, reason, emotion. I felt like she had died. Like she was gone forever.

On Wednesday I felt sick. The boys made sure I kept busy. I dropped them with Ana at their first Gym induction, and went over to Broad Glade. The Social Worker was there waiting for me and as soon as I saw her, the tears started to well up. It would perhaps have helped if I had cried earlier, but I hadn’t.

We had a chat and then went to find Mammy. She looked so beautiful. She had had her hair done and was wearing a pretty dress. She was eyeing us suspiciously as we led her back into her room.

The Social Worker began the conversation as discussed and reminded Mum how, when she first came down to Nottingham, we were planning to find her a place of her own, where she could be close to us. The Social Worker said how Mum now needs help with washing, dressing and making cups of tea etc and Mum looked surprised –

“No, I can do things like that” she claimed.

We told her that they now had a place available for her there, where she would be able to stay and be close by.

I could not have imagined a better response – she smiled with delight and said,

“That’s great! So we will be close again at last?”

As we talked, I realised that she had forgotten that she had spent the last 14 months living in my house. I could not have engineered that response in all my prayers and dreams. I felt so grateful. I explained to Mum that I would help her move into her new room and bring some more clothes and pictures. She was all smiles and affirmations. I took her through to lunch and left to collect the boys with such a spring in my step and praise on my lips.

I had no trouble packing that evening and was almost sad to be leaving the boys behind. But they are in safe hands.

Appendix 1

Early, Middle and late stages of Alzheimer’s (page 10 of Alzheimer’s At your Fingertips)

Early Symptoms: “Because the onset of the disease is gradual, it is difficult to identify exactly when it begins. The person may:

*show difficulties with language;

*experience significant memory loss – having particular problems with short-term memory;

*be disorientated in time;

*become lost in familiar places;

*display difficulty in making decisions;

*lack initiative and motivation;

*show signs of depression and aggression;

*show a loss of interest in hobbies and activities.

Middle Symptoms: “As the disease progresses, problems become more evident and restricting. The person with Alzheimer’s disease has difficulty with day-to-day living, and:

*may become very forgetful – especially of recent events and people’s names;

*can no longer manage to live alone without problems;

*is unable to cook, clean or shop;

*may become extremely dependent;needs assistance with personal hygiene, including visiting the toilet, bathing and washing;

*needs help with dressing;

*has increased difficulty with speech;

*wanders and sometimes gets lost;

*shows various behavioural abnormalities, such as unprovoked aggression or constantly following the carer around the house;

*may experience hallucinations.

Late Symptoms:This stage is one of total dependence and inactivity. Memory disturbances are very serious and the physical side of the disease becomes more obvious. The person may:

*have difficulty eating;

*not recognise relatives, friends and familiar objects;

*have difficulty understanding and interpreting events;

*be unable to find his or her way around in the home;

*have difficulty walking;

*suffer bladder and bowel incontinence;

*display inappropriate behaviour in public;

  • be confined to a wheelchair or bed.

Other useful information about Alzheimer’s:

Signs and symptoms

Alzheimer’s disease — a progressive, degenerative brain disease — causes more than simple forgetfulness. It may start with slight memory loss and confusion, but it eventually leads to irreversible mental impairment that destroys a person’s ability to remember, reason, learn and imagine.

Most people with Alzheimer’s share certain signs and symptoms of the disease. These may include:

Increasing and persistent forgetfulness. At its onset, Alzheimer’s disease is marked by periods of forgetfulness, especially of recent events or simple directions. But what begins as mild forgetfulness persists and worsens. People with Alzheimer’s may repeat things and forget conversations or appointments. They routinely misplace things, often putting them in illogical locations. They frequently forget names, and eventually, they may forget the names of family members and everyday objects.

Difficulties with abstract thinking. People with Alzheimer’s may initially have trouble balancing their checkbook, a problem that progresses to trouble recognizing and dealing with numbers.

Difficulty finding the right word. It may be a challenge for those with Alzheimer’s to find the right words to express thoughts or even follow conversations. Eventually, reading and writing also are affected.

Disorientation. People with Alzheimer’s often lose their sense of time and dates, and may find themselves lost in familiar surroundings.

Loss of judgment. Solving everyday problems, such as knowing what to do if food on the stove is burning, becomes increasingly difficult, eventually impossible. Alzheimer’s is characterized by greater difficulty in doing things that require planning, decision making and judgment.

Difficulty performing familiar tasks. Once-routine tasks that require sequential steps, such as cooking, become a struggle as the disease progresses. Eventually, people with advanced Alzheimer’s may forget how to do even the most basic things.

Personality changes. People with Alzheimer’s may exhibit mood swings. They may express distrust in others, show increased stubbornness and withdraw socially. Early on, this may be a response to the frustration they feel as they notice uncontrollable changes in their memory. Depression often coexists with Alzheimer’s disease. Restlessness also is a common sign. As the disease progresses, people with Alzheimer’s may become anxious or aggressive and behave inappropriately.

Because early Alzheimer’s symptoms progress slowly, diagnosis is often delayed. People developing the condition may be frighteningly aware of their problems — but careful to keep them hidden, refusing to see a doctor. As a result, even their families may fail to see what’s going on. When the signs and symptoms are too obvious to miss, those closest to the person often realize that similar — but less severe — difficulties have been present for years.

The disease’s course varies from person to person. Eight years is the average length of time from diagnosis of Alzheimer’s to death. Survival begins to decline three years after diagnosis, but some people live more than a decade with the disease.


There is currently no medication that can cure the disease or slow its progression. Treatment therefore focuses on helping people manage their symptoms, and treating problems such as mood changes that may contribute to the difficulties that people experience.

Research in dementia takes place all over the world and more and more is becoming known about each of the different types of dementia. As our knowledge continues to increase, the hope is that we will be able to design treatments that will help combat the symptoms and signs of dementia, and eventually hopefully cure it.

From ‘Dementia’ by Dr Jonathan Rohrer, Dementia Research Centre

Week Fourteen

This week’s is a little longer, but you won’t get one next Friday, so it’s a chance for some of you to catch up...


It’s now nearly two months later. Christmas has been and gone and yesterday we celebrated the ‘Epiphany’. So much has happened emotionally and events-wise over this interval.

Debbie came for a few days at the beginning of December, but as she was largely concerned with shopping, I didn’t get a break. I did communicate some of my concerns about me coming to the end of my ability to look after Mum at home. She says she will support me in any way she can and does understand that it has been very difficult for me.

We saw Monica briefly, but apart from that we have had few visitors. It is like that now.

On Christmas Eve, Joshua had a burning fever and spent most of the day in bed. After mid-night Mass, Simon was also burning up and the two of them spent the next few days with an appetite only for Paracetamol and water. Most of Christmas dinner went into the freezer.

Joshua, Simon and Mum are all still coughing badly. They had a virus, apparently, but Mum had a chest infection too and is now on her second prescription of antibiotics. Unfortunately Mum’s coughing has caused ‘stress incontinence’, which has given me wet chairs, wet mattress and a whole heap of extra washing to do.

Sitting in the waiting room at the surgery, with the whole family, was a rather comical experience. Other service users were quite clearly avoiding sitting anywhere near us. Mammy was distressed, coughing and wheezing severely. Joshua looked mentally disabled with his ashen face poking out from under his long woolen hat, exploding into coughing fits; the doctor even asked me if he attends ‘regular school’. Simon was looking like a vacant, zany zombie and Conor, wearing gloves and a T-shirt with ‘Heavily Medicated for Your Safety’ printed across the front, was acting the part, twitching and groaning, for fun.

I saw the doctor alone last and, not surprisingly, she recommended anti-depressants for me (which I refused) and prescribed the pill, which Simon had suggested that I now take. I had hoped that we would have a baby, but perhaps I am too old. To take the pill would be to give up hope. I could carry on with the uncertainty, expectation and the disappointment and agony each month? It is another difficult dilemma.

Mum went into respite over New Year and we set off to see the New Year in with Simon’s family.

The prospect of putting Mammy, against her wishes, into a home; the thought of there being no hope of a baby; the house full of sickness; and Simon’s increased anxiety are all pulling me down very low. Lord, give us wisdom.

Today is back to school, but it’s Conor’s turn to be sick, so I’m tied to the house again. At least I went out into the garden for a tidy-up and felt a bit more enthusiasm creeping back into my spirit out there.


Tuesday today and finally an hour’s solitude. I managed to have a chat with the garden, but I missed the phone – it was Mum’s dementia doctor and I now feel really agitated because we have waited 6 months for this and I missed it. January 8th was firmly printed on my mind, calendar and diary – but all I had remembered was that Mum’s Befriender was coming this morning and the district nurse this afternoon. She left a message that she would send another appointment, I just hope it won’t be another 6 month wait.

Out in the garden I was delighted to see deep-red wallflowers, emerging pink stocks and little proud fresh-green shoots from last year’s bulbs. I was feeling a sense of awe in the hardiness of Nature. Only the second week in January and the flora is waking up again to dazzle us for another year. The mini-roses are still in bloom and the Sweet William has not stopped flowering since last March.

When I woke Mum she was lying curled up on top of the duvet. Being slow to learn, I asked her why she doesn’t get back under the quilt, after she’s been to the toilet. It was a stupid question that she obviously couldn’t answer and made her feel distressed and grumpy.

I have to dress Mum every morning now. The socks she can usually manage if I present them one at a time. This morning she put the left sock on and then sat looking quizzically from the sock in her hand to the socked foot and to the bare foot, for what seemed like 5 minutes, so I took the sock and put it on for her – to put us both out of our misery.

The inhalers are now used at least twice a day and she still does her happy piggy impression and asks, “What does it do?”

When Mum was last in Broad Glade, they suggested that we request incontinence pads from the NHS, as they are both free and effective. She came home wearing one more like a nappy that day. A nurse bought some pads with her last week and, after filling in copious forms, she left me with a ‘urine chart’, to fill in during the week, and a sample bottle, ready for her next visit. Apparently all is well – the sample was good and the scan to see how well she empties her bladder is fine too. She’s going to keep us supplied with big and small ‘nappies’, so that should really help my washing load. They are all valuable improvements and a blessing.

Yesterday I went in to Mum’s room to find the commode upside down on the carpet. There was nothing I could do, but get on with it – it really makes me heave! Of course the urine soaks through the carpet and the poo gets flattened by the seat and various components of the commode. To have to reassure Mum and get her ready, with a nostril full of it, is quite unbearable for me. Mum holds on to those negative experiences for so much longer than she does the positive ones. Throughout the morning she was downcast and sniveling, despite my hugs and reassuring words.


We had an interesting discussion on Tuesday morning. We had been out walking a couple of times already and we were having a cuppa and listening to an inspirational piece of music, when she began to cry gently.

She said, ‘Daddy is here!’

During the course of the conversation I learned that she couldn’t see him with her eyes, but that he was smiling and at peace. She was questioning why this happens to her, remembering that it used to happen a lot more, but that she didn’t think he would still be coming to see her. I asked whether she believed in an afterlife and whether they would meet each other again. She didn’t know quite what she believed, but added that if they did meet again, ‘I hope he doesn’t hurt me’.

Poor thing. I shared my hope that, if we do meet again in the afterlife, then ‘Every tear will be washed away’, (*Bible: Rev 7: v.17) That there will be no more pain and that we will know truth.


I received a new appointment to see the dementia doctor on April 22nd.

The ‘epilepsy specialist’ in Neurology has written to the GP, saying “These features [on the EEG] are suggestive of an increased disposition to epilepsy. Please let me know if I need to see her again.”

The GP doesn’t know what to do and has passed it back to the specialist to ask what, if any, medication she recommends. The dementia doctor didn’t want to ‘step on the toes’ of the Neurology specialist, so, thus far, nothing has happened. And I missed both appointments.


Well, she’s still coughing and it’s causing her so much distress. We went again to the doctor, but the chest infection seems to have gone, so a new investigation – ‘reflux’- is being tried with the intervention of an stomach-acid reducer, ‘Lansoprazole’. I also enquired of the GP about communication from Neurology and ‘Hey, Presto’, there was a letter on the system saying that Mum should start taking drugs to treat her ‘epilepsy’. So, now she has to chew some ‘Tegretol’ after supper too.


Another Monday and we are back to the doctors. This doctor wants to try oral steroids again, to see if the cough clears with them. If it does, he will deduce that it is definitely asthma-related and then we might be able to move forward with that approach.

Today we had to stop halfway to school, because Mum was distressed and refusing to walk properly, but wouldn’t say what the matter was. I sent Conor on ahead and Mum told me that she ‘keeps peeing’ and ‘can’t stop’. She said that her clothes weren’t wet though and that she wasn’t doing it at that moment, so we changed direction and went home. She isn’t making much sense at all recently and is often wet. I’m so glad we got the pads.

I wonder if the Tegretol isn’t making Mammy more dopey and confused than ever, but it’s hard to tell, as she has good and bad moments anyway.

I am so grateful for my garden. Several times a day I wander around that beautiful space, marveling at the new growth and constant miracles and change. I watch the birds – still flocking and flying in fabulous formations. I speak to the garden too. Mum talks to the plants as well and hugs the trees – so we must both be potty! I have two lovely, orange crocuses in the front garden and bunches of bulbs waiting to flower all over the place. We are eating lots of brussels now, so that I can get the vegetable patch prepared – to plant beetroot, red-onions, blueberry and blackcurrant. I’ll do rocket, courgettes and beans again later too.

I finished an email and went through to Mum and to make some tea. She was sitting hugging herself tightly, which looked to me like she was cold, but

“No, it’s Roger” she sighed shakily, “He’s dead!” Pause.

“He died last year, Mammy. We went to his funeral.”

“No, he was here, we were talking…and then he had to go…he was there (points to the window) and a car came…it knocked him down…he’s dead! …We were talking here, just now… That lady was here too…I’m going mad! …He came up here and I spoke to him…Is he alive? … I’m going crazy…”

“You are not going crazy, Mammy, you are just mixing up your memories. Roger used to come to see you a lot on Orkney and he came here too, to see us last Christmas, so you have seen him in this room. He did die in a car though; it was tragic, as he mistakenly reversed his car off the pier on Graemsay, after picking up his groceries.”

I wonder whether the ‘visits’ from Daddy weren’t also part of a confused thought and memory process?


Mammy has now seemingly forgotten how to swallow tablets – but not food. Yesterday she had to take her first dose of 8 tiny, red, steroid tablets. She just couldn’t do it. The tablets kept lodging between tongue and teeth, as she gulped down several glasses of water. An hour and a half later they were finally gone. We had the same problem then at bedtime with the ordinary tablets – even the capsule she tried to chew and splutter out all the gritty contents.

This morning’s 8 steroids got to me. After spending half an hour on the first two, I abandoned the job and we took Conor to school. We had to come back and take the rest, before I could take her to the Day Centre. It was another hour before, with one still in her mouth, I took her out.

On the way back I spoke to the Pharmacist who said that there are soluble steroids, but the doctor would have to prescribe them. I spoke to the doctor’s secretary and she wrote it all down. She was very empathetic and I felt myself beginning to cry, so I thanked her and left.

What a difference soluble tablets make. And she likes the taste of them. She still can’t do the bedtime ones though.

Week Thirteen

Before Mum was to go today, I decided to confront her about the Day Centre.

“I do like it!” she said.

When I explained how I saw her behaviour, she tried to explain how ‘it’s the suddenness’ of my leaving that bothers her; that I do things ‘too quickly’ and then I’m ‘gone’. I suppose that with not having a memory backup, everything seems sudden and, simultaneously, everything goes on forever? Life must be very unpredictable for her. She seemed better prepared today though, so maybe I should go back to telling her what’s happening next, to give her more time to respond. I used to do that, but it seemed that I was just giving her more time to worry, but things change, so I will too.

At the Carers’ group last night the St. Peter’s Wing were doing their presentation. I felt slightly overwhelmed by the focus on drugs – drugs for the Alzheimer’s disease, for sleep, for depression, for anxiety, for the bowels, drugs for this, that and everything – and also the emphasis on test scores. Mum scored 9 on her test, but she was in a strange place, with a doctor whose English was not very clear, being watched and put under pressure to perform. As a teacher, I know that these conditions are not optimal for anyone. So, because she scored a severe ‘below 11’, she’s almost written off. Last night I took the opportunity to ask the Consultant again about therapy and why I thought that if I supplied some of the facts about Mum’s past, perhaps a therapist could be of help to Mum in ‘unblocking’ stuff. But I still didn’t get a clear response.

Our Social Worker came again today, to see how things are going. I have given her Debbie’s phone number too, as, having Welfare Power of Attorney, the decision of ‘where it is best for Mum to live’ lies ultimately with her. She said there is a place available now at ‘Broad Glade’ and, if I were desperate, Mum would be considered. Believing that the place was full with a waiting-list, the choice came as a sudden shock. I don’t feel I have the right to make this decision alone. I don’t know who I’m supposed to put first. She won’t rush me and she listened to all of my ramblings. It’s good to know that if I do get desperate, they can step in. Please God that I don’t become desperate, but that things will fall naturally into place at the allotted time and I will know peace.


At ‘Take-a-Break’ again I witnessed more of Mum’s ‘attractiveness to men. I was aware of two new people having joined the group some weeks ago, but I hadn’t had the pleasure of speaking with them. The man was staring at Mum and asked if we were sisters. Mum didn’t even acknowledge his remark, but sat there serenely smiling. Then he said to me,

“She is very pretty, I quite fancy her.”

“And you are?” I asked, somewhat amused by his fixation.

He gave his name and I looked enquiringly at the lady, who smiled, “I’m his wife!”

We were celebrating another birthday. It makes me sad to see Mum – 25 years younger than the birthday girl – so much less able to communicate or function sociably, yet somehow enigmatic for the gentlemen. I presume that the gentleman flirting was the one being cared for by his wife and I wonder how much more difficult it must be to care for a spouse than a parent.


I had arranged to visit the even-more-local care-home, that our Social Worker had told me is considering registering for dementia patients. I had a good chat with the manager, who has been working there for 14 years and has her own mother-in-law living there (which is either a high recommendation or at least expedient). They have between 12 and 14 ‘residents’, but the youngest is already 18 years older than Mum. They do seem very homely and the lady seems to take pride in the place and love the residents. I intend to ask our Social Worker to plan Mum’s next respite there, in the new year and see how well she would fit in. It would be good if Debbie could come and look at these places too and discuss the options with me.

Mum says she wants a diary again. Debbie and Mum always kept a diary. I think I’ll get one for 2008 and we can fill it in together, at teatime perhaps.

I think I’ll also do a ‘This Is Your Life’ style album for Mum – an idea from the Occupational Therapist. It could be very helpful for friends and other volunteers and carers to see something more personal about her and give them more of an anchor for chat and discussion.


This morning Mum had two of her funny turns. It prompted me to phone the Neurophysiology Dept. to find out when we can discuss the results of the sleep-deprived EEG, that she had two months ago.

It seems I have slipped up somehow. Apparently Mum had a ‘missed appointment on 3rd November. It was not in my diary and they had not sent us a letter, but I did find it written in the notes that I had made when we last visited earlier in the summer. Hopefully we will be able to reschedule?

These ‘fits’, or whatever they are, do add to my stress, because I feel nervous to leave her alone for even a few minutes, lest she hurts herself. I saw the first one begin and was able to take the cup from her hand and hold her steady until she had finished, but was then afraid to leave the room. After the second ‘fit’, I put her in the big armchair, with the TV for company and went to have my shower. It struck me this morning that the majority of ‘fits’ have been directly after breakfast, and a couple have even been before breakfast. Is it the suddenness of going from horizontal to vertical that triggers them? Is it a change of blood sugar levels? I must ask the consultant, if they give us a hearing.

I thought it best to stay indoors this morning, so we made a start on the ‘This is Your Life’ folder. I found a pile of good photographs to illustrate the major stages of Mum’s life, but I realised how patchy is my own actual knowledge of specifics – especially dates and place-names in her life. I am sure I will be able to find out this information.


The ‘Age Concern’ volunteer has taken Mum to a garden-centre for a couple of hours – she is superb with Mum. She is interesting and interested and manages to think of purposeful excursions. This week the purpose is for Mum to get some Christmas cards and to see the decorations. The volunteer friend always says that she has had a lovely day out too.

On Friday we go to Marbella, Spain, to stay with an old University friend of mine. I am so much looking forward to it, but as always dreading Mum’s disappointment, when she realises that we are going away without her.

This morning when I went to wake Mum, she was clearly still in a distressing dream. I barged in with my “Wakey, Wakey, rise and shine”, but Mum was sobbing and shrinking under the quilt, crying, “No, please don’t. Please! No!” I was concerned and curious, as she obviously wasn’t fully awake yet. I stroked her head and told her she was having a bad dream. She continued sobbing and saying, “Mum!” Later, when she was more awake I asked her about it and she said that her mum was very angry with her in the dream. Apparently she was never angry or nasty, ‘in real life’. She couldn’t recall why she had been angry with her or how she was expressing it, but it was clearly causing her a lot of distress.

I suggested that maybe Mum was angry with herself (as she’s often pulling herself down with phrases like, “You stupid woman. You silly thing!”) She agreed that she was angry with herself and said ‘it’s like having a big hole in my head’.

I guess it might be just like that. I told her that I see the disease in her brain like a set of fairy lights – every so often one blows and that bit goes dark. I think that maybe the little ‘fits’ are manifestations, or causes, of those blown bulbs and there are dark patches in her brain where once there was clarity. She likes my analogy and says it feels just like that.

Anyway I thought it would be appropriate to go to the memorial garden today and take some flowers. We did get the engraved marble vase, but haven’t been back there since we erected it in August. On the way to the garden, I asked her to describe her mother and she kept repeating that she “was a lady – a gentle lady!”

We arranged the flowers, said ‘The Lord’s Prayer’ together and thanked her mum for being a gentle mum. She said she couldn’t remember anything about her dad at all


Liebster Award

Thank you to Perth Girl for nominating me for the Liebster award. I’m not sure what to do, so I’m following the instructions on your site… It’s all very mysterious but very exciting for a term-time early Monday morning. I think this is a very special Aussie honour.

As I look more closely, I see there is quite a bit of work to do to accept this award in the spirit in which it is given, so I’ll have to attend to it later.

I follow Perth Girl’s blogs because they reflect a real Christian life and are full of common-sense, humour, compassion and hope in day-to-day modern living (with an Aussie flavour 😀 ).

The Liebster Award is internet based and given by bloggers to fellow bloggers. The idea is to help connect with and support other bloggers.

The Rules:

1. Thank the blogger who nominated you.

2. Share 11 facts about yourself.

3. Answer the 11 questions the blogger
asked you.

4. Nominate 11 bloggers and make them happy!

5. Make up to 11 questions for your nominees to answer.

6. Notify your 11 nominees.

11 facts about myself

  1. I ‘m a child of God
  2. Some days my name is Mammy
  3. Some days I’m Nana-D
  4. Sometimes I’m Aunty Beany
  5. Some days I’m “Miss!”
  6. I’m a sister and a friend
  7. I don’t have a TV, but I watch lots of DVDs
  8. I love other people’s stories – hearing, reading and watching them
  9. I write all the time to try to hold my thoughts still
  10. I like walking and exploring and playing with children
  11. I love words – in any language and none – I called my friend a Brexpert this morning and myself a lexpert. A child drew me a neepo later at preschool.

Perth Girl’s questions to me are:

  • Describe yourself in 3 words? Spirit, Body, Mind
  • What is the hardest lesson you have learned? Saying No
  • If you could leave one thing behind that people will remember you by, what would that be? Encouragement
  • Name one book you have read more than once? Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendac
  • Have you ever conquered a fear? Every day, but I haven’t killed them yet.
  • What do you wish you knew more about? The Kingdom/ Heart of God
  • What has been the most unexpected thing you have come across in your blogging journey? This Liebster Award and all the questions
  • What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their life? Grow a fruit or vegetable from seed and eat the harvest
  • Road trip or Train trip? Train
  • Favourite Tv show, ever? N/A
  • What is the best advice you ever received? Don’t judge a man until you’ve walked a mile in his moccasins- (because by then you’ll be a mile away and you’ll still have his shoes! 😀 )

My nominees are: ( I hope I can find 11 – sorry, but I’m struggling to find 11 who have fewer than 200 followers…)





My questions to my nominees are:

1 – Do you prefer writing or speaking?

2 – What thoughts get you up in the morning?

3- What’s your favourite quote?

4 – How many names do you have and which is your favourite?

5 – What do you like most about yourself?

6 – Where is your favourite place in the world?

7 – if you could change something in the world, what would it be?

8 – what is your favourite film?

9 – what is your favourite story?

10 – If you could be an animal for a day, what would it be?

11 – Who are your heroes?