I didn’t put myself down for sainthood

I,Rosy, said this to one of Mum’s carers, as her dementia days stretched to months and years.

How else to express the sense of commitment to a belief that I had to be there for her, ease her suffering, interpret and intercede in the world for her, make everything better whilst knowing I will finally fail. I cannot abandon her, she must abandon me.

This is the carer’s role; unsung, uncelebrated, exhausted until all resources seem to have been used up. Then even more is needed. The psychosis of dementia required a ‘being with’ acceptance and holding. Such a life lesson, so hard yet in another way, so necessary and easy. A strange gift, but still a gift, to learn another kind of loving.

Working with Verity I reconnected to those complex myriad conflicting ambivalent emotions to try to make visible what it meant and how it felt to be my Mother’s carer.

©2020 Rosy Martin & Verity Welstead