founder of naked leader
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
PS Who will you be telling them that you love them, before it is too late?
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