Friday, June 25, 2010

Losing It

My mother really doesn't like being eighty-six, even though it's better than the alternative.

She doesn't really notice all the things that she can still do, such as swim, and walk, and garden - - all she notices are the things that she's lost.

And one of the things she's lost is her ability not to lose things.

She got some new glasses a few weeks ago and within about two days they had disappeared into the misty blue yonder, never to be seen again.

Yesterday she was wearing a pair that simply don't fit. Which glasses were those? "Oh, I've no idea. They none of them work, anyway."

And this is true - her eyesight is much poorer than - luckily - she realises. The new ones might, perhaps, have helped a bit, but they just didn't last long enough before their sudden disappearance.

This morning, Mum was off to Barrow-in-Furness for the weekend to stay with her lovely friend Amy, who has been her best friend since they were at school together - - and luckily, she married Mum's favourite cousin and became officially part of the family.

I helped Mum buy her train tickets. The ticket seller had realised the same thing as me - that the best train for Mum was the one that changes at Carnforth. Now then, Carnforth Station is where they filmed that classic British film Brief Encounter, with Trevor Howard and Celia Johnson. If you have tears, prepare to shed them now. Wonderful film, script by Noel Coward.

And Carnforth Station is easy - - there are only two platforms. Whereas the alternative, Manchester Piccadilly, is big and bustling and would be totally confusing to my mother.

So I handed the two tickets to my mother and watched as she instantly lost them in the depths of her handbag.

"You'll need the outward ticket to get through the barrier and to show on the train."

Prolonged rummaging ensued but I guessed that they were in the zip of her purse, and so it proved.

We got to the barrier. It's one like they have on the Tube, where you have to put in the ticket, it goes through, you retrieve it and then two perspex panels open to let you out.

"I'll deal with the ticket, Mum, you just walk through."

The perspex panels opened but she didn't go through, just stood there.

"You need to go forward, Mum."

"Pardon?"

"GO FORWARD! KEEP GOING!"

A small queue built up behind us.

"No, I'm not going through yet."

"Er - - why not?"

"I'm holding them open for you."

Awwwww! "No, I've got my own ticket. I need to do it myself."

"Pardon?"

By now they were jammed. A man with a twiddling device and a resigned expression came to release them.

We got to the platform. "Can you see that notice-board, Mum? Yours is the next train."

"What notice-board?"

The station is very noisy. Mum is very deaf. It's quite tiring, yelling your head off all the time.

"Have you brought your glasses, Mum?"

After a bit more rummaging in her bag, she produced the case where the glasses weren't.

"They're not in the case. Do you know where they are?"

She patted her breast pocket and triumphantly produced a pink-rimmed pair of glasses that I swear to you I had never seen in my life before.

"Where did you get those from?"

"I don't know. They don't work, though."

She put them on. She still couldn't read the notice-board.

"Do you know where your train tickets are?"

"Pardon?"

She found them. Eventually. She caught the train. She changed at Carnforth. She arrived in Barrow and Amy's son Frank met her at the station and she rang me later.

"The journey was fine."

She has to come back on Monday as she's getting new hearing aids on Tuesday. I could cut out a lot of time and hassle by simply collecting them for her and then hurling them from the top of a bus, thus losing them quickly and effectively rather than slowly and worryingly.

Now she's in Barrow. She'll be swimming in the sea this weekend. It will be freezing cold. She won't care. She'll be in her element. That's one thing that she hasn't lost. Not bad for eighty-six.

3 Comments:

Blogger Jennyta said...

She's still got far more on the plus side - like my father, who also only notices what he can't do any more. :)

9:40 pm  
Blogger rhymeswithplague said...

Chipper, infuriating, slowing down but still moving...I'll be there all too soon myself, I think.

At least you didn't lose it in the process. Your mum took care of you for many years. Now it's your turn to take care of your mum.

I love it that she's still swimming in the sea.

1:38 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm already hoping my son will do the same for me.
He made a good start yesterday. He started his first job and signed over all his unpaid monies and insurance payout to me for if he dies in post.
He said I'd earned it.

5:52 pm  

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