Oh Mum.

Saturday, 18 August 2018

Oh Mum. I have so much to say and yet I don't want to say anything. What could I possibly say. I'm sorry? I hate this? I wish it wasn't so? They're just words and they mean nothing. It's not my fault. You can't help it. We can't help it. It's just what it is, regardless of how much it sucks.

I'm so pleased that we managed to have Jackson while you are still well enough to enjoy him. I'm sorry that it's probably not the grandmother experience you would've always dreamed of. Seeing you cuddle and kiss him is unlike anything else, but I'm sorry you miss out on other things.. Like playing in baths, cooking for him.. Babysitting and sleepovers.

It's so hard saying no to you. Having to pre-empt everything that might go wrong and coming to the conclusion that sometimes it's safer for you to stay put. That we have to hover so that Jackson is safe. That you can't leave your chair without someone to help you. You're so strong willed. Stubborn really. You've always been so independent and seeing you like this... It's heart breaking. I want to say yes. Of course we can go to Samoa! Can Jackson have a sleepover in your room - of course! Yeah let's go to the cafe for lunch! You want to go and see our old camping site? Why not! But every idea of yours comes with a whole lot of obstacles. Will you last the drive? What about going to the bathroom? What if anything happens and we're too far away? How can I look after you AND Jackson when you both need me so much? And then when I mention some of these things, you withdraw. "Oh don't worry, it's okay." "No we have the memories, that's fine." And you go quiet. It's the worst. Because I know how badly you want to do these things, to pretend that everything is fine. To live the way YOU want to, like how you remember you used to.

But the truth is, you can't. We can't. Every time we see you, we're saying goodbye. Not fully, but just to the remnants of who you were. The mum I knew growing up. Who was my absolute biggest supporter. Who never said a bad thing about anyone, and always encouraged my brother and I, regardless of what we were doing. Who took us on crazy adventures, even if she wasn't the most outdoorsy kinda person because she knew we'd love it. Who made a dollar go so far, who sacrificed her wants  and needs to make sure we were well provided for. Who is seriously the best Mum. But that person is slowly disappearing. I mean, you're not. We still see your old self pop up every now and then, but it's easier to start saying goodbye now. It's been nearly five years of this. Watching you deteriorate. To slowly lose your ability to do the most basic of things. To watch you battle the inevitable. To try and support you throughout, and not make you feel like you can't do things but knowing that the reality is, you can't. And as sad as it is to say, "we say goodbye everytime we see you," we have to. Because the truth is you aren't getting better. Every day is worse than the last. It's just how it is.

Today I watched you put on Jackson's sock and I couldn't help that burning in my eyes. The tightening in my chest. The overwhelming sadness that Jackson isn't going to know you like I know you. That he's only seeing a very small glimpse of who you are, and will only remember you as who you are now. And worse. I'm sorry he won't fully know your love. Your ability to make anyone feel like a million bucks. To experience your stubbornness that fuels from you just wanting the best for everyone. But I'm glad that he gets your kisses. Your cuddles. That he is learning your face, your voice, your arms. And mostly that YOU got to meet him as well. So many people don't know their grandparents so I know he is lucky to have you for as long as he does.

I'm sorry if it feels like I've neglected you. If it feels like I'm not around enough. Honestly, that's how I feel. Jackson has steamrolled my life in the best way and the drawback is that I'm missing time with you. Your phone calls go unanswered. Sometimes it will be two weeks before we see you. I know I can't do it all, but I want to because you're worth it. I wish I could see you everyday. I wish that I could take you out. I go to answer the phone but then Jackson cries. I'll hear it ring but quickly turn it off because he's just got to sleep. The weekend rolls around and I'm so tired, I know you want to see us but I have no energy. Because honestly Mum, you're hard work. Wonderful hard work but hard nevertheless. It's hard to hear what you're saying through the slurring. You get muddled and so does your conversation and sometimes I can't keep track. You stand up too quick, sometimes you fall.. And between you and Jackson I can't really manage. But I'm going to try more. I'm going to come and visit. Both of us. It's not so bad. He's getting better in the car. I'm becoming more and more aware that time is fleeting and all we are left with is memories so I want to make sure that all of us have the best ones. And no regrets either.

Oh Mum. I love you so. More than anything. Watching you slowly lose yourself is the worst part of my life, but the only saving grace is that you aren't fully aware of what's happening. I'm glad you can still smile and find the positives in life, without realising the extent of the changes that have taken over you. You're the strongest, funniest and most wonderful woman I know. And brave, so brave. I can only hope to become a smidge of the woman you are, and I will remind Jackson forever how lucky he is to have a Noni like you.

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