Suspended lives

SORRY to keep harping on the gardening theme, but I thought you might be anxious to hear how things turned out re the rake and the carpet of leaves on the front lawn (see yesterday’s entry below). Never leave your reader suspended.

I limbered up with the usual Monday morning swim. I have now settled for doing my thrice-weekly 800 metres front crawl in twenty minutes, give or take a second or two either way. Some of you may call this sedate; I call it steady.

After that I soon dealt with Autumn’s fallen leaves, and took two over-full garden refuse bags to the local recycling tip. Ever the dutiful citizen.

The internet was down when I returned home, and the resident IT expert – otherwise known as The Daughter Who Left (But Returned) – was out with The Current Mrs Feeney, shopping for items to pack into shoe boxes for Swansea’s Christmas Child Appeal.

So I was left with no option other than to sit down and read some more of “The Secret Life Of Bees.” I was happily engaged in this when the phone rang. A council social worker informed me he was at the care home where The Aged Parents reside. He was there to do something called a Deprivation Of Liberty Safeguards assessment of my mother.

It sounded drastic, so I hurried through the park to the care home to discuss it further. DOLS (as he called it) was, he explained, designed to look after the interests of people in care homes and hospitals who were not at liberty to leave, and who lacked the mental capacity to understand why.

My mother has dementia. She is one of these people. We went to see my mother in her room. The social worker quickly concluded that it would be in her best interests to remain in the home.

I walked back home through the park; a man was putting two children in a car parked just outside the park gates. As I approached, he said my name and put out his hand for me to shake it.

It was somebody from my home village. We had not met for several years. His mother was a regular customer when my mother ran her hairdressing salon. Later they became good friends. She began showing signs of forgetfulness a couple of years before the same thing happened to my mother. She is now in a care home in another part of the city.

He asked after my parents. I said my mother’s dementia had got significantly worse, and she no longer knew me. He said his mother was the same. We stood in the fading light of a November afternoon; two grown-up children no longer recognised by the women who raised them.

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