I was was awake too early this morning. I am not sure why, but as is often the way, once awake and laying awaiting sleep once more, my mind was dwelling on various things. I am sure these things come up then, after a few hours sleep where the clutter of the day has been checked, collated and filed and now there is room for some more things to surface.
I was mainly remembering stuff about my younger sister when she was a baby. Memories for me, but not for her since she was too young to remember them. These memories then moved me through to thinking about my parents and that now, with Dad dead, and Mum not really there (and certainly not maintaining her long term memory now) there is no one to check the memories with, to see if they’re correct or to fill in the gaps. This must be how many people feel when they lose their parents, the loss of the history and memories they take with them.
I sent an email to V later sharing the memories as I thought she might like to have them as part of her story.
I was thinking about some early memories this morning about you as a baby and realised that these memories may not be one’s you have.
Now with Dad gone, and mum not really there, there is no chance to ask questions and check stuff out. So, I thought I’d just share these brief memories about you as a baby, so they’re not just in my head.
My first memory of you is your first day home. You would have been about 10 days old, as that’s how long mum would have stayed in hospital back then. We lived at the Police house in Seal. There were two rooms at the front, and behind a cold, tiled hallway with stairs leading up to the landing and bedrooms. You were in your pram (big coach built thing) and you were shut in the hallway and crying. We were in the sitting room and I was not happy that you were left out in the cold. Not sure I did anything about it, but I recall my distress and yours.
I remember mum breastfeeding you. She sat in an uncomfortable dining chair and didn’t look comfortable. I know in later years she complained about the pull on her back when she breastfed, and this is hardly surprising since she didn’t make herself comfortable. I know from my own stuff around food, that it is very likely she fed us until “she’d had enough” and suspect we were removed from the breast before feeling satiated. I also suspect that due to her using “4 hourly feeding” as her guide (and breast milk being digested in 3 hours), that we would have spent a lot of time feeling hungry. I know for me this helps me understand my issues around food, and grumpiness (and low blood sugar) when I am hungry.
My next memory is again when you were probably less than 3 months old. Dad went off on a 10 day (I think) cruise. It’s only in much more recent years I have come to understand it was a cruise for pleasure and not as I thought, when a child, for work. He’d been working for the Federation by then for 5 years. I am not sure why he went away, and I have some memory of him and mum arguing about it more recently and him saying he needed to get away. What a time to be abandoned by your husband! Anyway, it’s during this time that mum took us up to ?Sutton Coldfield to visit with Uncle G and Aunty J. My memory is only of you in a carry cot on the back parcel shelf of the coach! Travelling up the M1, completely unrestrained lol. I also remember stopping at “Blue Boar” which is still there and has always stuck in my mind as an odd name for a motorway services.
Next I remember you getting measles. You’re still a baby which is not good, and you’re in the sitting room (there were double doors between the 2 rooms that could be opened or closed) and I am in the dining room. In the sitting room it’s all quiet, and the curtains are drawn closed to reduce the light levels. That’s all I remember, I am pleased that it was taken seriously and that you didn’t end up with problems as a result of catching measles whilst still so young.
Oh, I also remember you were swaddled. Actually, I think your cot was in the sitting room for a while. Mum would wrap you in a sheet, no chance of moving! 😉
Finally, I think you probably know that G and I would only need to play a game with a crumpled tablecloth and make noises whilst you were on the potty to encourage you to poo. You used to giggle like mad at this not funny at all tablecloth game.
Later I called mum and had an odd conversation with her. As I had thought, she has no real memories of the days back in Seal when V was a baby, or the couple who we’ve known all those years and the widow of the husband who up until very recently has been visiting. When I mention her name mum says, “No, I know no one of that name”.
I guess much of this early morning musings is going on as Mum is moving to a new Nursing Home on Friday, specifically for people with Alzheimers. Her current nursing home is geared up for physically unwell and was fine for Dad and for her whilst he was alive. Now, 10 months on, she has deteriorated with him gone and no one to fill in the gaps with some reality. My sister took her there again today for a 2nd visit to have a cup of tea with friends. Mum told me about “the poor old dears” there, and when I asked if she was moving there on Friday she quite distinctly told me no of course not, she has a room here! Good luck to my sister, she’s going to need it.
This week I have made calls to all the elderly relatives, and to my sister, lain awake this morning thinking about this, shared it with my sister and now shared it here. Hopefully I’ll sleep through tomorrow.