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Sitting on a plane, back from seeing my mum in Scotland

Sitting on a plane, back from seeing my mum in Scotland

Time to Read:  Shorter than nine months

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?

Please comment below

27 Responses to Sitting on a plane, back from seeing my mum in Scotland

  1. My mum passed away 17 years ago at the age of 65. She had cancer though none of us knew, not even her. From going into hospital until she died, it was two weeks, but it gave me a treasured time to tell her how much I loved her. Looking back, I was so lucky to have had that time. All the grief and sadness has faded over the years and I and left with the beautiful memories of sharing my love and thanks.

    My step-dad is still around(now 85)and I’ve not waited until he is ill to tell him I love him – time is too short and love is too precious.

  2. Received via email:
    “Wonderful weekly digest.

    Thank you for the excellent story packed with humour, thought and sound advice.

    All the best,

  3. Received via email:

    “Lovely, David, lovely. So important as she stops being the person you gave known all your life for you to go with her flow, for that is her reality.”

    From Naomi Langford-Wood

  4. Another comment via email:
    “As I read your naked leader post this morning I cannot help but write back to tell you that this morning we (family and me) made the painful decision to take mum from her home she has lived in since it was built (I was 16 when we moved in) and to place her in a care home.

    A difficult time but a timely post. Thank you as ever.


  5. Received via email:
    “Hi David

    You asked me to comment on your newsletters if I felt the desire to do so. My wife, works in the office twice a week, while I work at home. She just phoned me to say ‘did you read the David Taylor email? I said I had, I always do. She said it made her feel very emotional and made her cry – probably (no, certainly) because her mum had Alzheimers too.

    Thought you would like to know.


  6. Received via email:

    “A very touching story David, and one very close to my heart. Taking the time out, as you clearly have, to make the time for those we love is often the hardest to do and yet it should be the easiest.
    Thank you for sharing this. I am sure that it will make a difference to many people.
    With warmest regards

  7. Hi David

    I lost my Mum to cancer in November and this resonated with me in so many ways. She was a worrier and her worrying/nurturing behaviour used to annoy me as I’d react emotionally thinking she didn’t think I was capable of looking after myself, even though I know that she just worried about her children because she loved us. She never really understood what I did for a living and repeatedly referred to my “counselling stuff” (I am a coach)! Until I won a team coaching contract just days before she died and I saw the penny drop when I explained to her what it was about. I loved my Mum and was deeply grateful for everything she did for me, not least bringing me into the world. I was acutely aware I’d never told her that so did so just a couple of days before she died in the hospice. She was very ill and on a lot of morphine but when I thanked her for being my Mum and told her I loved her she opened her eyes and smiled momentarily. I am now taking responsibility for building a closer, more open relationship with my siblings which feels really important.

  8. Thank you David…

    For giving me the courage in Dec 2007 to deeply look into my Dad’s eyes and tell him how much I loved him and that that love and trust would always keep him safe.

    The next day I would step onto a plane and move to a new life in Abu Dhabi with my husband and kids in the knowledge that next time I saw him he would no long know who I was.

    But would always be loved.

    • You just made me cry, Claire.
      Who would have thought that such a beautiful piece would touch people in such a way. It gives cause for reflection. And your four sentences tipped me over the edge…in a good way, though. It was so touching.

      • Thank you Francis,

        David’s piece was so touching that I wanted to let him know that the words and actions truly made then and make now, a huge difference.

  9. Hi David, my mother died last January 19th, her birthday was 15th January. On the day my mother died i was trying to get to the nursing home she was in. The traffic was the worst i,ve ever seen. When i got to the home my phone ring and a worker came to the area i was in.
    I said she has gone hasen,t she, the answer was yes. I went in to see her and she was warm i was able to hold her. She was 82 years old on the 15th January. My mother also had Alzheimers., but just in the process of the problem.

    To top it all, my aunty who was 70 last December died May 8th last year. She was a nurse all her life, also speaking on a daily basis to those in prison, church to try and help them. Her funeral was the bigest i, ve ever seen.

    She was blessed by all. For all her hard work. Neurone disease took her life.

    Regards, Ionie

    She died of a nuron

  10. I was luck enough to catch my mum in a lucid moment one Christmas several years before she died. I told her that I loved her very much and she said “I love you too because you will always be my baby”. That was not to be true because it was not long before she did not recognise me. At least I have that one memory which is so precious to me now.
    When my father passed away there were so many things that were unsaid that it damned near ripped my heart apart but the one thing that I never stopped telling him was that I loved him until the last seconds and beyond. That has saved me.
    I recently shared with a new friend about decisions that you make not to say things to your loved ones. Not everything can be said without bad repercussions but you had better be able to live with decisions you make because once the opportunity has gone for ever, you have to live with that decision for the rest of your life – however long that may be.
    Decide wisely and focus on the important things. Do not let life’s petty things get in the way of loving and letting those know that you love them, however difficult that can be.

  11. Wow. That is so powerful. What an amazing reminder that we should tell every one that we care about just how we feel.
    Mums and dads are so precious. That story is so beautiful.

  12. Some times things just move you. This did to the point of tears.
    It is amazing how so many of us take life for granted, when actually, it is so precious and we should treat it as such.

  13. What a great write up, David, a powerful reminder to focus on the important people in our lives before we run out of time.

  14. Something like this just makes you realise that we are in the now. The past is past, the tomorrows might never come. We have to live for the now and embarce the moment. And telling families how you feel has to be a part of that.

  15. Yes, like Lyn’s comment.
    We are all wrapped up in our own lives and we have to share them with our loved ones, because one day it WILL be too late and we are left with regrets.

  16. Thank you David, this has touched me very deeply, life can be a challenge and focusing on the challenge has at times kept me from giving love. I do tell my family how important they are how lucky I am to have them and I have in the last few years started telling them I love them as well. The one thing I haven’t always done is said why and what moments I especially remember and cherish. Thank you for sharing your story with your Mum, life is remarkably precious and we only have this moment to share.

    Have a wonderful moment,

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