My mum loves flowers, I think she may have preferred to have been a florist instead of a good medical secretary. At times it would be difficult guiding her past the piled case notes at clinics, reminding her that she didn’t need to file them away someone else would. Some days she’s bright and will converse easily; at other times we need to try and be a bit more creative. So we take the laptop and show her places of “somewhere” and “somewhere else” and she perks up and engages in conversation. Other times I open a magazine; yesterday it had a picture of a place she knew in her youth and she told us about it but when I pointed out the water voles, that were so much part of my childhood, she had no recollection of them. The human brain is a truly incredible tool and a perplexing one. Sometimes I kick myself when I suddenly wonder why I didn’t take in a posy of wild flowers so she can smell and touch them rather than the pictures on the computer.

So we look at the photos and mum names the flowers, I remind her that some came from her garden; only the garden she remembers is a different walled garden. (I remind myself that it doesn’t matter that we don’t share the same memory but that she is remembering a place from her girlhood where she felt secure and happy). She remembers the Latin names because she thirsted for words and knowledge. We read the newspaper headlines together so she could feel connected to the world around her. Looked at the photos of the damaged school of art (GSA), surprised she remembered.

Keep forgetting to take in the Poems of Edward Lear which she would quote to us children and our children!

My desk is filled with info on “Understanding Dementia” and I think maybe we should all try to understand before the need arises. As Sally Magnusson quoted in her book “Where Memories Go

It is yesterday that makes tomorrow so sad

Austin O ‘Malley – “Keystone Thoughts