... someone will take you by the hand and lead you where you do not want to go (the end of John's gospel, too lazy to look up chapter and verse)
This evening I researched and ordered some woven name tags to stitch into my Mum's clothes in the hope that they don't all disappear at the nursing home to which she has moved.
It felt very strange to be doing something for her that she oculd never have afforded to do for us when we were growing up - we used to take a biro and write our names on the clothing labels or inside the collar of shirts, and have to repeat it at regualr intervals as it soon washed out.
But more it is strange that the roles are reversed, that now I am the one (with my sibs) making choices on her behalf. Even down to the way her name is embroidered on 144 name tags that I will then need to sew into her clothes (Black, sans serif, not block capitals).
Strange to be cancelling her digital TV subscription, her telephone contract and knowing there are many more still to be done in the days and weeks ahead.
It feels very weird, and whilst I suppose there is some sort of privilege and some sort of expectation/duty there, I am not quite sure how I am meant to feel about it. Stream of consciousness follows...
This is my Mum, the person within whose womb I was conceived
My Mum, at whose breast I suckled
Who bathed and clothed me when I could do nothing for myself.
This is my Mum, the person who taught me to walk and to talk
My Mum, who allowed me, aged five, to take her favourite blue glass jug to the school jumble sale (and it was gone before she could arrive to buy it back)
Who listened to my reading, my tables, my spellings, encouraging me to excel wherever I could.
This is my Mum, the person who went without so that I didn't
My Mum who baked a birthday cake shaped like a cottage, took me to piano lessons and failed to teach me knit!
Whose help was the cause of my one diastrous French homework, who steered me to subjects that should lead to employment.
This my Mum, who never understood why I left it all to follow a call to ministry
My Mum, who proudly spoke of her daughter, the engineer, the minister
Who cheered from the sidelines as best she could, worried, cajoled, and, yes, criticised.
This is my Mum, a widow for over a quarter century, many of whose friends have slipped away through death
My Mum who now finds her memory fading, time collapsing in on itself, independence stolen
Who must depend on those she nurtured to step up and care for her.
This is my Mum, who has grown old
Has been taken by the hand and led where she did not want to go.
Whom I love, and whom cannot protect from the inevitability of old age and frailty
The circle spins round, carer becomes cared for, child becomes as parent
This is my Mum...
God help me to be the daughter of whom she dreamed all those years ago.