Today is Mothers’ Day in the UK and so with the usual sense of trepidation I picked up the phone to speak to my mother.  The first call drew no response. I worry and then put it aside. -she could have been in the garden, the bathroom or  didn’t have her hearing aid in. Half an hour later I try again and a frail voice says "Hello?"

"Hello Mam, I’m just calling to wish you a "Happy Mothers’ Day" as I don’t think the card will have arrived. "

"Oh. Thank you, and the same to you!"

And off we go into the distorted world of the Alzheimer’s victim.

How is she – "I’m fine, how are you?"
I mention my neck is still a problem and she is hugely sympathetic; so unlike her real self. We "talk" about my car accident ,but she thinks I was run over and keeps coming back to how awful it was for me to have been hit by a car.

She mentions that she "doesn’t get out much these days".
Interesting , as she’s never said that before AND she went missing two weeks ago on one of her frequent trips to the shop at the bottom of the street. One of at least 5 trips a day she makes to the shop.

I try to ask her  about her grandmother. I’ve been looking at old family photos as part of my research into our family history. I know the answers, but I want to see if she can remember. Although this is supposed to be an area where the memory stays the longest I get nowhere. My questions are met with nervous laughter. 

"Where did your granny live?" Laughs.
"What was your Dad’s Mam called?" Laughs.

I give up and ask what she is doing for lunch. I know that she goes to my sister’s every Sunday and unless my brother’s wife has stepped in because it’s Mothers’ Day, that should be where she’s going.

" I’m going to my daughter’s , it’s just around the corner".  That’s true, although she can’t bring my sister’s name to mind even though she sees her every day.

I say goodbye and she thanks me for calling. She has no idea who I am; she probably hasn’t for a year now. It all adds up; she didn’t send me a Christmas card; I sat at Christmas dinner with her and she thought I was my sister’s friend, and made asides to me about my sister’s parenting skills; I didn’t receive a birthday card from her on my birthday earlier this month and when I talk to her on the phone she behaves as if I’m someone she knows, but she can’t remember my name and doesn’t recognise it when I introduce myself.

I call my mother out of duty, but then I always did. We have always had a difficult relationship and it got worse after my Dad died as she became a bitter old lady only interested in my siblings offspring.
My mother has gone and has been replaced by a nicer person. Well. at least someone who is more polite to the strangers who are her children.