Climate Change

My mother is like the White Cliffs of Dover
Beautiful a landmark in our livesWhite-Cliffs-of-Dover1
But at the mercy of the elements
Slowly being eroded
So that her landscape changes daily

One day battered by stormy weather
In danger of losing her footing
The next basking in the sunshine of sweet memories
Only then to be engulfed in a bewildering fog
Through which we guide her back to the present moment
Where she anxiously searches for the familiar

This then is the climate in which we all live
Those of us who care for her day to day
There are no forecasts
No predictable weather fronts
So that we can prepare for the day to comeimages

Our minds in need of order and structure
Try to invent them
But truly they do not exist
The chaos of climate change is upon us

Mum has redefined ‘normal’
It has become wherever she finds herself
She has torn up the rule book
Which every now and then we try desperately to reassemble
Frustrated indignant impatient often overwhelmed
We find relief in sharing our stories of mum

photoMum is often frustrated indignant impatient too
And lately I have come to understand
How overwhelming it must feel
To have no one who understands her landscape
To share these feelings with…

There are also moments of great pathos
As when evening approaches mum nervously says
‘Don’t be angry with me
But I think I’d like to go home now’
And I choose to interpret this
As a loss of the memory that this iIMG_3418s her home

She speaks often of ‘her family’
A term that doesn’t embrace we who care for her
And we have taught ourselves
Not to take offence at this exclusion
Sometimes she weeps for the absence of them
And the memories of happier family times

I do not try to comfort or distract anymore
I have grown to respect her reality
Sometimes I go with her into the pain of absence
It is a valid place to be –
And stay alongside as she surfaces once more
In this world that feels less and less like home…

(written Tuesday october 28th 2014)