Living with someone as old as the AP really is like existing in an alternative reality. We are servants in our own home, fetching, carrying and delivering. The AP has no sense of time anymore and just expects things to happen and seems surprised that there are times when we can’t do her bidding.
The Christmas card saga continues as she decides that she must send some as ones to her roll in. We did try to motivate her in November, knowing how long they take her and yes, I could volunteer to do them. I don’t for one very good reason, it is good for her to make an effort especially now that she has new reading glasses that have improved her ability to see the written word. It all helps to keep the brain active although I do sometimes wonder what the point is. She decided that we (that is the royal ‘We’ ) had to buy chocolate for the cupboard in the corner of the kitchen. Why? I ask. The answer is so that there is something for her grandchildren when they come at Christmas. The grandchildren are all grown up now and more than capable of buying their own chocolate and in fact we are spending Christmas Day with them but not here. The AP seemed to have forgotten this and then looked puzzled when I explained that it really wasn’t necessary. Some days she seems very on the ball but I have come to the conclusion that it is just a lucky coincidence when that happens because it doesn’t last. She is behaving herself at the moment and hasn’t been so abrasive or unpleasant and I just hope writing this isn’t casting the runes.
The LSO and I are looking forward to Christmas and to spending time with our family. It will be such a breath of fresh air and normality. Normality as we knew it, vanished nearly four years ago and I am hugely grateful to the close friends and family members who have helped us to keep our heads above water and to keep our sanity.
In this case an emotional rollercoaster. I do at times feel sorry for the AP, it’s not much fun getting old and at 99 years of age she is very old but sadly she does little to endear herself to us. Maybe, in her mind, she doesn’t need to as she has everything someone of such a great age could desire really. A space of her own yet people around, regular meals, varied and considered, servants at her beck and call, washing done, all shopping done, cleaning taken care of, bills paid, chauffeurs when needed and all she has to do is care for herself and potter. She can still potter; the AP does several slow circuits of the front garden maybe once a week weather allowing, it is a good size to walk around and she still goes to a weekly keep fit class. We do occasionally arrange for a friend to come over and lunch is duly prepared for them or some wonderful kind friends take her off for the day and entertain her. In the meantime with the aid of magnifiers she can just manage to read and she has her own television.
Does this make for a pleasant and contented existence? Well, no, it would appear not to be the case. The AP announced the other day ‘that time flies by but why should that be the case when she does nothing and is basically bored.’
She has no concept of what her living with us has done to our lives or how bored we have become with the monotony of our existence. We live with, accept it and get on with things as cheerfully as we can but do feel that at a time when we should be enjoying an active retirement, spending more time with our own children and travelling we are here instead, looking after an ungrateful, graceless old lady who has become selfish and self-centred. Thank you and please are words that have vanished from her vocabulary where we are concerned. I know we made this choice but truth be told we had no idea what we were letting yourselves in for and really no-one can explain, only those who have done it understand how relentless it all is.
Tomorrow an old friend of mine is arriving for a few days and I have been told magnanimously that I must have a day out with her on my own. I am almost lost for words. Then later in the week a cousin and her family are arriving for lunch and we are already preparing ourselves for the inevitable gushing and pretence and are just thankful it is only for a day.
Twenty three days to a month of freedom and yes, I am counting.