I have a new guest for a fortnight, or maybe less, depending on how things go.
When I found out that my mother-in-law would be on her own for fourteen days whilst my sister-in-law went on a holiday, I felt a bit guilty. My sister-in-law lives very close to my mother-in-law and takes the brunt of the looking-after/caring. I think that’s a lot for her to take on without us, but we live a hundred miles away, so I suggested that while she was away, mother-in-law should come and stay here with us. I think she enjoys coming here, but we’re not sure whether we enjoy the visit as much as she does.
Unfortunately the weather has dictated what we can do since she arrived. I’d like to say that she’s been occupied, I purchased for her an adult colouring set, I thought she might enjoy this as she’s a bit of an artist and has enjoyed painting for many years. Also, I thought it would occupy her while I was doing other things, as my life has to carry on while she’s here, and the rain hasn’t allowed us to go out as much as she would like. I wish that I could still drive so that we could go and visit tea rooms and other attractions that she might enjoy, but the weather has dictated that I don’t want to go out in this weather.
My mother-in-law suffers from dementia, and struggles to remember things. She has told me several times many stories and she starts the story with, “I may have told you this.” I like to think that I’m a nice enough person to not say, “Yes, you have already told me,” even though that doesn’t stop her, as she still carries on with it, regardless! I am very fond of my mother-in-law, after all I have been married forty years and we have got to know each other quite well by now. I have to carry on with life and get on with what I need to do while occupying a lonely lady while she stays with us. Today, for instance, I had to see a dentist, and I had to leave her with my PA, who had strict instructions not to let her go for a walk, because she gets lost, or to let her do any cooking or washing up, because she struggles to remember what she needs to do in the kitchen.
I can’t believe that we have got to the point where I need to babysit an ageing mother-in-law from a wheelchair. I’m not sure who needs more support here. Is it me, or is it her? She needs more mental support, and I need more physical support.
I’ve often asked myself, what’s worse? Is it losing your physical abilities, or is it losing your mental faculties? From where I am, it’s losing your physical facilities, but she might say that’s it’s losing her mental awareness. But then, she doesn’t know that she has lost that ability to think. It’s funny, how I feel thankful for my mental state, even though my physical abilities are ‘shot to pieces’. I don’t think MIL is aware of her loss. She tells me that an old neighbour phones her to sit with his wife, who has dementia, to care for her while he gets a break. My MIL is 88 years old, and doing amazingly well. Her physical abilities are awesome. She plays football with her great-grandchildren, and has just as much fun colouring with them as physically enjoying their fun in the garden. I think she is astounding in her abilities at the age that she is. I’m awestruck by her get-up-and-go, even though she is driving me round the bend.