I wonder if her hearing is worsening. We welcomed my Mum this weekend for a few days to take a break from the mundanity of living alone in a house far too big for her, as it crumbles around her, damp and draughty, paint flaking and wallpaper peeling or painted onto the walls. The tired looking curtains more apparent in their need for replacement since Dad has gone. Where there once was a house with 2 core team members and various bit part players now there is just one. There is no “I” in team, there is no team anymore. Neighbours come and go, a couple have fallen by the wayside, they’ve got their own families to look after they have no obligation to pop in to see my Mum, and yet still the same amount of milk bottles are delivered, the same amount of eggs. Imagining the fridge filled with dairy products slowly spoiling, as the single micro meal for one is the staple diet, a bowl of rice crispies and a banana for breakfast. The team is gone, the noise in the house has lessened, the volume turned down as low as the TV is turned up high. Where there was once disjointed chat and companionship; conversations misunderstood through deafness and the inability of a stroke survivor to find the correct words sometimes, now there is a loud telly, subtitles and silence, the occasional telephomne ring from someone from the sub continent inadvisably trying to sell my Mum some sort of online product, she hates foreigners. My irreplaceable Dad vanished from life, still there in the curling up printouts on the table where the keys and invitations were once kept; less invitations now, but still lots of keys, the doors remain, but are never opened.
The house they once dreamed of became a reality 36 years ago, the beautiful garden nurtured for by Dad under the watchful eye of Mum, the square rooms, and the patio doors, the very thing of luxury then, the driveway gravel, weedless due to Dad’s weekend work rate still with time for a drink with friends, sitting on the terrace in the sun, (It’s a patio really but Mum likes to posh things up) sipping on one of Dads posh Pimms, mint from the garden, strawberries and cucumber from Waitrose, ice in cut glass, while Mum rested on the fold out chair, before going inside to cook supper. These real memories, and the inability to think much further ahead these days has made the future bleak, the Chimera of any sort of entertainment going forward is fast ebbing away. Mum’s hearing, we decided, this weekend, was worse than it was in March, and her days are filled with silence, she’s out of practice at hearing, she’s out of talking practice and I worry that if she doesn’t soon get to a clinic to have her ears tested, then her world will become impossibly smaller. She doesn’t text, or want a mobile phone, she stood up against any sort of technological improvements after getting the video player with the remote control attached with a wire. The telephone will be out, and so i’ll have to write letters, the only way potentially to communicate going forward if the hearing continues to decline. It makes me very sad, being far away, and hover hearing her tel, the kids that she wishes we lived closer by. Well, she knows what she needs to do, if this actually is the case, and preferably before her world sounds like she is permanently underwater, muffled, unclear, misunderstood and lonely, really lonely.