A couple of friends at my local are struggling with close relatives suffering dementia. My mother went the same way and it got us talking.
Sufferers can retreat into distant memories. Perhaps as most of us feel safer in the past, where everyone fitted in and people played their roles.
It prompted us to recall first memories. Mine was when aged around two or three, bullying a neighbouring toddler on our estate. They were close neighbourhoods back then.
His mother came into our home to remonstrate with mine who, naturally, first defended then later reprimanded me.
The departing words of neighbour Mrs Potts were: “And tell him (me), that his name’s David - not ‘Potty’!”
Another memory from then was of playing outside, with Potty, by a parked milk float. The driver came back and saw us by a half-deflated tyre. He blamed us and clipped our ears.
Just then my mother arrived, threw down her bike (everyone rode one back then and not for exercise), then ripped into our persecutor.
“They’re too young to have done it – they don’t even have bikes,” she lectured, clearly furious, then warned him, “Ever hit them again and I’ll let down your tyres!” That threat of vandalism raised her up even higher in our childhood admiration.
Later I proudly recounted all this to my father, waking up late after a night shift. Back then dad was understood to be the strong one of the family, who was also able to repair and make everything. He had to, as things got broken so often.
He looked as stunned as the milkman had. However, I then noticed him look at my mother with admiration too, for her spiritedness.
Then he said, “Thankfully, she wouldn’t know how to either.”
Let us treasure those family memories - and be grateful for happy days.
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