This is My Mum.

This is My Mum.. She’s the one on the left. Next to her (the dark-haired toddler, is her sister Olive, who lived with us for many years) …

mum & Olive when babies

This is My Mum, a photograph taken in her early teens …

mum young woman1

This is My Mum –  The girl on the left …

Mum around sixteen

This is My Mum, elegantly posed in her late teens…

mum - young woman

This is My Mum in her Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) uniform during the war…

mum in Army

This is My Mum – on her wedding Day to Dad. Sitting in a car in a photographer’s studio with a pretend background …

Mum & Dad - wedding day

This is My Mum – with my sister and me – I’m the grumpy-looking blond one…

mum in her thirties

mum with us on the beach

This is My Mum in her forties outside the house she lived in until 2014 …

mum around forty five

This is My Mum in her sixties, enjoying the sun in the garden …

mum in the back garden

This is My Mum -aged eighty, at our son’s wedding …


mum purple suit

This is My Mum …

mum thrfee months ago

This is My Mum …

I will give her some dignity so I won’t show her as she is now;  a small frail figure huddled under the bedclothes. She  sleeps most of the time, only speaks the odd disconnected word, she’s doubly incontinent and can’t feed herself, 

My Mum would not have wanted to live like this. I do not want her to have to to live like this. I wouldn’t want to live like this  What I should say is … ‘exist like this.’

 You’ve seen the photographs of my mum as she was. That’s how I want to remember her.  In a similar way, that’s how I want my children to remember me.

This why I wanted to write this post. 

 

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22 thoughts on “This is My Mum.

  1. A brave post, Judith. My own feelings, from a purely personal perspective are equivocal, given both my experience with my son and his prognosis in the coma, as well as my beliefs. But I do believe that the choice should be a personal one and available. Having walked the path of terminal illness with my late partner and seen what it does both in terms of pain and the unbearable leeching away of self, I know what I would have done had he lived beyond supportable limits. We talked about his choices. We were lucky, he died before those limits were passed and no matter how heartaching that was for me, it was also a relief to see him escape what was inevitably coming. There should be a choice.

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    • Thank you, Sue. I respect your views and understand totally how you feel.My mum is the third relative I have watched being lost to this horrible disease. I was carer for mum’s sister, Olive for some years and for twleve years for my grandmother’s sister. It’s hard to watch. But, unlike physical illness, when someone can – and should be able to- make the choice for themselves, I would want the same choice for mental incapacity for those of us who would want make the decision while they can. Jx

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  2. What a heartfelt, sad, and courageous post, Judith. I think about the end of life and how I want that to look for myself. My husband and I discuss it, and I’ve talked with my parents at length about their wishes. Where I live, Oregon USA, we have assisted suicide. But even here it is too restrictive in my mind.

    As you beatifully stated in your photos, who we are isn’t an empty shell. We are thoughts, emotions, identity, relationships, and when those are gone, we are gone. Death is a natural part of life, and at the end of our days, we should be allowed the grace and wisdom to depart on this last journey with dignity.

    My heart is with you, your mom, and your family ❤

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  3. J, you saying that you have experienced this before with loved ones must be crushing your heart. Knowing the stages. Anticipating what will happen. I too have experienced watching those I have loved most in this world suffer. I truly believe that assisting our loved ones is the ultimate form of love and humanity. I doubt if anyone that doesn’t agree with it, has ever experienced the horror of watching a loved one suffer over an extended period of time. The one thing that I have to stop myself from thinking about because I find it so hard to come back to a light place, is that pain, especially with my Mum. That will stay with me for the rest of my life J. All I can hear in the words of your post is the total and utter love you have for your Mum J. Don’t ever feel the need to apologise for that. You would have learnt how to love from your Mum. You would know exactly what your Mum would want right now as well. Bee x

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  4. A very courageous post Judith. It must be hard to not only look after your mum, but watch her drift away from the person you knew as your mum. I have a lot of opinions about a lot of issues and always feel hesitant to voice any of them publicly for fear of flack from naysayers. But off the record, I’m with you. xx 🙂

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    • It takes me a lot to speak out in public, Debby, but I’d already cared for two aunts with dementia who lived with us for their last years. My heart sank when I realised it was happening to Mum as well. It’s harder living so far away from her – each time I’ve seen the deterioration. She would hate what is happening to her, and that almost strangers are caring for her in the most personal way. The bill being heard today doesn’t cover mental illness (as is right at this point) but there has to be choice, when we’re mentally capable of making that choice. We were told we would lose her seven months ago but still she exists (and I use the term knowing what I’m saying) Twice she’s had severe chest infections, twice she was taken into hospital and put on an intravenous antibiotic, twice she was frightened, angry, distraught. And there was nothing I could do except sit and try to hold her hand and calm her. I’d challenge anyone to say they’d stand by and not rail against this if it was one of their loved ones. Jx

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