founder of naked leader
I love you Mum – Goodbye
Naked Leader Week 850 – 2 December 2019
Time to Read: Anytime
My mum passed away on Monday 25th November after a long illness with dementia.
I wrote the following in January 2016:
Sitting on a plane, back from seeing my mum in Scotland
I visit my mum as often as I can – she is 90, she is alive, and she is well. Apart from the dementia, that is. Her doctor tells me it is getting steadily worse, and that we are approaching the stage when she won’t recognise me, or know who I am.
So, on every visit, I always take photos, go wherever my mum wants to take the conversation, and will, as naturally as I can, bring the conversation back to three themes: gratitude, stories from the past, and love.
How grateful I am that she brought me into this world. It is only in the last few years that I have discovered the amazing bond, love and trusted partnership that exists between an unborn child and their mother. When I was a teenager and mum told me how when she was carrying me, she would talk to me every day, I used to give a teenager’s cynical reply. In the visit before last, when I thanked her for carrying me around for nine months, she stopped, and she seemed to understand, and she took my hand. It was in that moment I decided to write this.
There is a story behind every photo, and I have a huge album full that I take. There is one photo of us as a family on the beach and I always share one same story every visit, and each time it is like she is hearing it for the very first time. I will never forget how every time I went paddling in the water – and years later – swimming – mum would run down to the water’s edge, shouting and waving for me to ‘come closer to the shore.’ She was sometimes frantic with worry, and to be honest it used to really annoy me, and I know I sometimes pretended I could not hear her.
I now realise that this was so much better than if she had run down to the water’s edge, shouting and waving for me to ‘Go further out – go on get away from the shore’! So, for this, and all the times I scared her, upset her or and worried her as she helped me navigate my way through childhood and teenage years, I hope to get across how grateful I am.
Funnily enough, the one thing she always remembers, and long may it be so, is that I have something to do with ‘Naked.’ Although she doesn’t seem particularly distressed by this, I do always reassure her that Naked Leader is neither dodgy nor illegal!
I actually read her a couple of paragraphs from The Naked Coach a few months ago – and she fell asleep!
I kid you not!!
A lady of taste!!!
We are about to land now.
I share this with you not to highlight the plight of those with Dementia or Alzheimer’s, that is well documented, I am sharing this to encourage you, if your mum and/or dad and/or brother/sister/relative or friend are still alive and in good health, please do not leave it too late before you tell them something important.
I fear I may have left it too late, which is why, on every visit I repeat a single 3 letter phrase – just 8 letters – from the moment I arrive until the moment I leave.
Yes, ashamed as I am to admit it, in the 18 months that my mum has been in her care home, I have told her “I love you” and really meant it, hundreds more times than I did in the whole of my previous lifetime.
With my love and very best wishes
Beautiful, and very touching.
You are in my thoughts,
Dear David, I read your message with mixed emotions. For you and your mum, who knew that you loved her even without the words. For the times you have shared with her and for her passing. My Mum is in that time of existing rather than living and at times I feel awful for wishing that the end would come. However, like you, in these past three years I have been able to share a different, quieter relationship with her, and have told her ‘I love you’ more than ever, so thank you for your words.
Those who are left behind need time to grieve, to remember and to come to terms with loss. Take that time and recall the love and fun she gave to you. I am thinking of you. with love, Dianne
Dear David, your post brought a tear to my eye and made me realise that our parents are not immortal as we maybe think they are and that I should make more time for mine. It’s also interesting that saying “I love you” to a parent is so hard, maybe it is because we wrongly believe that they don’t need to hear it because it is their role to love us. I am so desperately sorry for your loss and for you, Dianne with your mum and I am going to make sure that I tell my parents that “I love them” before it is too late. I am thinking of you both, with love Amanda.
I know exactly how you feel – my own Mum who was 97, passed away November 10th. She too had a form of dementia but luckily she recognised all of us right to the end – even if were having the same conversation more than once!
So I found your email not just touching & very personal but also comforting. I also am totally on the same page with you over telling her I loved her enough.
Below are the opening lines from a poem by Edward Hayes. I came across it after my father had passed away & always found it very comforting. I hope it does the same for you in this difficult time.
“I leave my thoughts, my laughter;
My dreams to you whom I have treasured beyond gold and precious gems.
I give you what no thief can steal,
The memories of our times together:
The tender; love-filled moments,
The successes we have shared,
The hard times that brought us closer together
And the road we have walked side by side.”
Take care as you grieve a fantastic Mum