My Mum passed away on Friday. I hadn’t seen her in person for almost 3-years I’m afraid to say largely down to travel restrictions and the fact that the last several months she did not know me at all courtesy of dementia. I would call from time to time but even that became a disheartening few minutes knowing that she was clueless who I was and was simply finding ways to end an uncomfortable conversation. The last call lasted 15 seconds as she told me she had to go and put down the phone. In a sense, I lost my Mum a couple of years ago to whatever dementia is. None the less, the loss is still unbearable – at least until time gently heals. Next week, my daughter and I will go to Hull and to the funeral. There I will try to hold back the tears and stay strong as the eldest Vasey left.
Mum was a strong, brave and kind hearted lady who just loved to talk and enjoyed her fish and chips. She suffered health issues for decades like colitis (which went away with dementia sort of proving colitis is sometimes simply related to worry and stress!), she had eye issues and had injections in her eye monthly and a long list of other ailments. Nothing stopped her though. If she had a mind to do something she did it. She flew to Czechia once with a broken arm. Another time, she flew back with a broken leg after falling down some steps here.
There she was in her 80’s frail from colitis and with a broken arm yet she was quite able to board a plane to Vienna and figure it out as she went. I would meet her with my daughter at the airport and marvel at how she had managed with a heavy bag finding her way through the airport. Her answer was always the same – she just found some kind soul to help her! On the journey, I’m sure she sat and chatted the entire two hours. Most likely about me boasting as a Mother is apt to do.
She amazed us especially after my Dad passed. She lived alone and carried on doing her thing. When I visited though I wondered how well she was really doing when I realised she couldn’t see very well and was eating expired ham and the like. The dementia was slowly coming although we didnt know it. The give away was the day Deni and I returned to her house from my brothers and let ourselves in. For a full 30 seconds, she did not know who we were and then made light of it….
As a boy, my Mum was just Mum. Always there baking, cooking, cleaning, ironing….. and working a full time job to pay for our annual holidays. On holiday trips, she would sit in the front seat rapidly making sandwiches and feeding the four men in the car with her…Queen of sandwich makers she was. And her baking was simply amazing. Deni recalls the full breakfasts and a whole bunch of other small things about her Nana including her smell. She loved the smell of Nana.
In the end, Mum lasted longer than she imagined – she was convinced she would leave us at age 82 for some reason but managed many more years than that. In the end, she led a comfortable existence I think in the home and enjoyed the food and the views. The dementia shielded her a bit from having to understand COVID restrictions and where some of her home friends went (died of COVID) but it robbed us of a person we loved and admired.
I miss my Mum knowing I won’t ever talk to her or see her again. I hope she and Dad are together again exploring the beaches and museums of some idyllic location.
In the last few years I enjoyed some real; quality time with her – both here and in Yorkshire. I’d drive her around places she liked. We would stop for cakes and coffee or fish and chips and she would talk and talk about times gone by. A different world of naivety and work when people were somehow different and more distant maybe. I was always fascinated and had lots of questions. She was always happy to answer.
God bless you Mum.
I had pretty much the perfect Mum and Dad.