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Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Back to the Coast

I spent a couple of hours with mum this morning then drove off back down the motorway to the city, my heartstrings twanging in my chest as I felt the tug of distance separate me and mum; I'll be going back north tomorrow and leaving the big city behind. The pulling sensation reminds me that I belong wherever mum is, and that my duty must play itself out in making sure she is looked after and comfortable.

I never thought this would be what I would feel when I finally relocated her to a nursing home. I frankly do not know what I expected to feel, but it was certainly not this twanging sensation as you pull away again. I didn't expect to feel the heartstrings vibrate and protest because of another dislocation, another separation as I go back north to the Coast leaving mum in Sydney.

I haven't really had time to think. And there is still so much to do. I have to continue emptying out mum's apartment so that we can lease it out. Then I have to start thinking about packing up my place - there are about 2500 physical books to box and label, as well as artworks - and that's something I really don't want to think about right now. There are still boxes of papers in mum's garage at her old place, and I have to go through those boxes and get rid of papers that won't be useful in future, keeping those things that will still have value down the track. This is truly a labour of love, as it leaves me exhausted after about two hours' work each day I do it.

Today I unpacked more of the things that we had had the removalists bring down to Sydney from the Coast. There was another box of nicknacks to unwrap and put on mum's shelves. At least her place is looking a bit more homey now, with paintings on the walls, photos next to them, and the bookshelves filled with books or nicknacks. I feel like her new room is a more comfortable and domesticated place, not the spare container of the first few weeks of living there. I have to pinch myself when I think that it'll be a month she's been in the nursing home within a few days' time.

In that time mum has acclimatised herself to the new surroundings. Where she was hesitant and reluctant in the first week or so, now she is apparently comfortable and at ease. I tend to take her on her word; one thing that dementia does is it removes much of the normal human guile we all possess, so it's usually the truth that mum speaks when she's asked how she feels. In all honesty I feel even more beholden to her because of this guilelessness of hers. She has noone else, really, in the final analysis, to rely upon.

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