written as my mammy disappeared slowly into the deep fogs of Alzheimers….slowly in front of us.
Happy Mother’s Day Mammy
I know you are with us in the fog, the thickening frightening fog
I know you aren’t really with us
but I love you
and I wish you remembered that and that you had the memories you have given me.
I remember how
you were so gentle
spoilt us though we didn’t appreciate the warmed jammies
the buns baked for after school some days.
you were quiet
you never ever slapped me – not once!
you were always at home
and I remember stupidly at times wishing you worked cos you’d be more confident
more confident to join in the conversations in the Melvin house for coffees
and maybe we would get a real holiday abroad?
but none of that would have meant the same as having you there everyday
and the real holidays we did have in caravans – so many fun innocent memories
swimming in the cold sea and you towelling us off in sandy towels
only in Ireland
the amusements….the innocence!
an Irish mother
with the old Irish mother mentality…daughters look after house work
sons and husbands to spoil
I didn’t like that
I was a modern thinker and that was just wrong
people came and went form the house and up you got and dutifully made the tea
you were taken for granted mammy.
I remember the Maine man
The man who came with the bingo cards for charity.
But I also remember veggie.
veggie would appear in his van and you were afraid mammy
we all hid under the table ’til veggie stopped peeipng though windows for us
i was scared but I didn’t know why.
You huffed mammy.
you huffed when we beat you at draughts
or at tabletennis
you went to bed…”migraine”
it was only a game mammy and you don’t know how much I love it when you played with us!
Music was yours.
I loved it.
i spent years dragged around Feiseanna and competitions- was my childhood
I remember the wee concerts in the front room in evenings sometimes.
we played duets mam – you and I
I didn’t know the names of those pieces, but i still remember them…
one was a March, and One a Rhapsody I think?
You had your solos too
Dad used to love you to play Peter Street Rag.
I probably wouldn’t be me and who I am without that gift from you – i couldn’t be.
You were odd- like I am
I remember when you used babysit when Cora was a baby and make me go out,
you told me i was too young to be stuck in with no life,
and I remembered the one night you had gone to the formal with daddy – the dinner dance
I was so impressed with you
you looked beautiful.
the long black dress with the gold embroidery
but you didn’t go out much mam and I don’t now.
you never recovered
never recovered from the death of Dolores. Leo and Mary
how could you?
they were yours.
I never appreciated that.
Not until you told me about Dolores and the Snowdrops when she was laid out
And how granny took charge and you never knew
you never knew how they were buried mam…but you always worried!
Part of you grieved always.
Now I understand.
Daddy was the strong presence
but you liked that – you had your own partnership.
Dad governed and you abided by the choices.
“Take the highroad”
you loved that!
I loved on maternity leave being up at lunchtime and watching your few programmes.
you spoilt me.
When i was seriously depressed you found a voice of strength!
And it made me face up and make my choices- you made me, mam!
That had such an impact on me- that was your inner strength.
You spoilt me when i was pregnant
dinners in the good room on Sundays.
minded Cora and Eoin
have so many vivid memories of you dancing them on the floor in the house
lilting as you went and they loved it.
I loved it.
You had a strong mother in your family – she had had to be all and sort all.
your family were not close – some were at times- but not always….families are families.
that was just how it was. not a fault.an observation.
you hated when granny went into care as you hated nursing homes.
you feared them
but no need mammy
when the fog started to crawl in you insisted we knew nothing
we worried but we didn’t know that it was alzheimers- the twilight world –
we wondered was it getting worse or not?
you fought to retain dignity and control with disdain
daddy supported your secret
with difficulty but brilliantly until you didn’t know mam
you would have been so proud of him
you never fully got to know Fionn and Caoilte – I am so sorry about that
they love you but they don’t know the real content of you.
You had what i now know was such a special love with daddy
those vows meant for life and were for better and worse
He has guarded you, cared for you, disguised your confusion
as the fog became thicker
you fought him at times when you thought he was letting the facade slip
but he didn’t mam.
He loved you
He cared for you
He still does
He never for a second stops.
And i love him so much for that.
You are here mam
But you can’t really be found
The fog is too thick – it smothers you.
But i love you mammy
Thank-you for the love
the always being there when i did’t know that’s what it was
for the music that saves my sanity.
for that inner strength that i will never forget – you hid it
you were the mammy
the carer of the children
And I will always love you for that mam
I wish you could remember.
But i will remember it for both of us mammy.
Happy mother’s day
to the best mother anyone could have had.