As I write this (on Wednesday 13th December) it is my mum’s birthday.
She is now eighty-eight years old. Eighty-eight! That’s a fine old age.
I’m a bad son though.
I haven’t phoned her to say “happy birthday”.
Which is probably the first time I haven’t visited or phoned on her birthday for over forty-five years. December is an awkward time for me though as my birthday is on the 7th, and my granddaughters’ is on the 3rd (lots of December birthdays) – and with all the Christmas shopping and ‘stuff’ – you know? And, we’re not in the country.
But then again, I could still have phoned.
Mum has Alzheimer’s disease and, because she sits nearest to the phone – she answers it every time it rings. Then, because she is also deaf and ‘forgets’ to turn on her hearing aid, she cannot hear the caller – she often says “who is it?” (you comply with her request), then she will say “I can’t hear you, who is it?” (you comply once again, louder this time) and then one of two things happen:
- – she says “oh bugger off – I can’t hear you” or …
- – she hangs up.
Occasionally, (very occasionally), she will hold a semi-lucid conversation with you, then, in the background, you will hear my dad say “who is it?” and she will pass the phone to him and say “I don’t know”
We do have a system of calling that overrides her habit of answering EVERY phone call, but sometimes she beats even that. I once visited just in time to turn a mattress salesman away from the door (she had said “yes’ at some stage during a telephone cold-call presumably).
So – I didn’t call.
Happy Birthday mum XXX