"I know", I said. "It's quite unexpected, isn't it?"
"Hmm." she replies. "I can't understand why she's doing it, though. Errr. Forgive me for being ignorant, but what does Brexit stand for and what is it all about?"
I feel a sledgehammer hitting me sideways. How on earth do I answer that? I'm not very good at masking. Lying. Pretending. So I go for the full-on honest approach. "You are kidding me, mum. There's been little else discussed over the last 12 months. You even voted on it last year in the Referendum. It's a shortened form for British Exit."
There's a pause. "Oh I see." But clearly she doesn't, so I venture "It's the British exit from the European Union. You know, the Common Market."
This is not the first instance that I have felt something is not quite right. There have been a few others. On Easter Sunday, I brought her over to my house to share with Kay and me in an old-fashioned English meal of roast lamb and Easter Simnel cake. There is just the three of us now. Mum's husband, my father, died in 2001. My husband died in 2010. Kay is an only child, as am I. So on important occasions it has been just the three of us for the last seven years. The three musketeers.
Kay helps mum from the lounge to her seat at the dining table. I dish up the meal and put it in front of mum, before I return with the plates for Kay and me.
"Where are the others?" asks Mum. "Are they not coming down for lunch?"
"What others?" I ask, not daring to imagine whom she means.
She looks confused. "Er. Er. I don't know. Er. "
Kay and I exchange glances. "Do you mean Kay's boyfriend?" I suggest as a possible way out, although he is 40 miles away with his parents, as my mother well knows.
"Yes", she replies, although not with conviction.
I worry if these instances are just a slight wobble or a symptom of something much worse. She is in a lot of pain with her arthritis and the painkillers don't even touch the sides. Even then, she only takes paracetamol and the occasional codeine, as she has done for years, so there is nothing really heavy to cause her mind to behave strangely as it seems to be doing lately. Stronger painkillers make her woozy, so we have experimented with them way back in the past but dismissed them as too dangerous as she lives on her own and could have a fall.
Are these the first signs of dementia? She is approaching 94 after all, but then again her next-door neighbour is going to be 100 next week and is as bright as button. My mother is very interested in the television news and would read more if her poor eyesight did not let her down, so she is not completely gaga and at least knows what year she is in and who the Prime Minister is.
But I can't help feeling these little instances are worrying and I don't know what the next few months will bring. I am not sure I am prepared for it, whatever "it" is.
|Kay made a Simnel Cake for Easter|
|Isn't she clever?|