Monday, July 12, 2010

My Mother On the Boat

Here's my mother, who is eighty-six, on a boat trip from Tenby to Caldey Island last week.

As you can see, she was enjoying it, and I really like this photo of her. I only managed to take it because she didn't notice the camera.

The problem is, she doesn't see herself as someone who's doing extremely well for eighty-six. She just sees what she has lost since she was half that age.

So she is horrified by all photos of herself - - she thinks that she looks old. And she does - but she doesn't dye her hair (she thinks that's a rather terrible thing to do, I'm not sure why) and she certainly doesn't look eighty-six.

Physically, she is amazing. She swam with me every morning before breakfast and she walked miles - - one day it was at least seven miles. Usually she swam at least twice every day - and always at least one swim in the sea, sometimes by herself.

Of course, it worries me that she does this and, since she broke her shoulder in Tenby last November, I've found that I am very jumpy whenever she's walking on any uneven surface. But she still goes up and down the high, zig-zagging cliff path at really amazing speed.

But her deafness is really isolating. When there is conversation in a group, she just can't follow it, and I was aware of this on lots of occasions in Tenby last week. I felt bad, but powerless to do anything about it.

She has some new hearing aids but really doesn't know how to work them. Unfortunately, she went to collect them at a time when I couldn't go with her. The doctor who fitted them didn't explain them in any way that made any sense to her. They had an accompanying leaflet. My mother has put it - - well, somewhere.

She's getting very forgetful, and she's getting increasingly frustrated with herself. I find constantly shouting to make myself understood very exhausting, and I get frustrated too.

I don't think it's generally much fun being eighty-six so it was lovely to capture my mother in this moment when she'd forgotten her age, and when I could see the young woman within shining through.


Blogger Silverback said...

Wonderful post, Daphne, especially the last paragraph. Joan certainly is an inspiration to a lazy armchair tv watcher like myself although I don't think I'd ever swap lying in bed at 7am for going swimming - even in Florida !

Which is why I'll probably never reach 46, never mind 86.

Shut it !

11:32 pm  
Blogger Debby said...


4:32 am  
Blogger WendyCarole said...

What a great photo. My mum is 83 and focusses on how much she can't do now rather than how much she does achieve. In some ways she is healthier than I am. She still cuts her grass and walks to town

4:37 pm  

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