Sunday, 29 August 2010

97 not out

In a week’s time my mother will be 97. She is already weighing up the possibility of making it to 100. She reckons that as she is in good health and has no worries she stands a good chance. On the whole her family have all been long-lived, even her parents who started out their lives in Glasgow. I think she is puzzled that I have no enjoyed good health but unfortunately, we don’t know all my genetic heritage.

Like all her family, she is small with a great sense of humour. She managed to entertain her great niece and husband, whom she hadn’t seen for a great many years, for two hours recently and she had them in stitches. Quite a bit of paper was used in writing messages as sadly she is stone deaf. I am not sure whether her hearing aids help or not. They are not always worn and frequently not switched on. We have all tried over the years but a certain stubbornness remains. As her mother was deaf too (although she did wear and use her hearing aids successfully) I think I probably will go the same way, particularly as I have had tinnitus for some time. When I am able to emerge from the bubble I intend to go to lip-reading classes to forestall the inevitable.

My mother is a great reader and always has been, like her mother before her. It is partly out of interest but also because the deafness reduces her ability to communicate with other people. Although she is, in fact, very sociable not everyone has the patience to maintain a conversation with someone who is deaf.

She still likes to go to Church, largely out of habit as she can’t hear anything except the hymns and she tries to position herself near the organ so she can hear it. When she retired from nursing she used to man (or woman) a stall for her church thrift shop as it gave her a real interest. She lived with us in a flat in our house for about nine years and it was a very successful and happy time. She now needs 24 hour care and so lives in a rest home quite near us. As I can’t go to the rest home at the moment for fear of infection, she comes to us and I try to organize her favourites for tea. As it is the strawberry season and this is a strawberry growing area, we have made the most of these fruit recently. It has not been easy for her during the past few years when I have been ill but she is a real source of strength and humour for us all.

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