BLOG by Karen Offord
15th September, 2014
I am about to embark on a journey!
Around the world, with my mum! 1 year! Where it will lead, we still
don't know. But it's going to be grand, packed full of moments to treasure, to
learn, to grow. We have an open check book and were ready for an adventure!
This around the world journey however will never include a plane (mum is afraid of flying), check-ins, jet lag, need for travel immunisations or a passport. It will however include trying new cuisine, learning new languages, currencies, cultures, rituals and history.
So allow me to explain...
My mum tragically lost her partner 5 years ago. She had ailments and a disability before he passed. Although I will always remember the strong, capable women she was. However, since his death she has deteriorated, unable to process things as she used to, move as she used to or enjoy life as she used to. Her whole world has collapsed and the only hope or happiness she feels is available to her comes from the visits from my sister and I and the fact that one day she will be reunited with her beloved Barry. This is her life line, her existence in a lonely house. A house she hasn't left for over a year. Determined to stay there till her time on this planet ends.
She hasn't turned on her TV or read any of her books for 5 years. In our last conversation as she expressed (again) how lonely, boring and frustrating life was, along with her funeral and estate instructions, I shared with her my plan. I needed to find something to help her. Something that would give her some joy, fill up her days (in between visits from my sister and I) and something she could focus on other than her imminent death and misfortune.
I told her we were taking a journey around the world! Our journey would consist of us sharing a travel journal. One week with me, the next with her. We would take turns following on were the other left off each week. Each week I would bring her dinner (as I had done for some time) but this time it would be cuisine from the country we travelled to from pizza to nachos, pad Thai to frog’s legs. Well maybe just a croissant when we got to Paris? Not so sure about the frog's legs. I told her it would include research on the net. How to say hello, I love you, thank you and other basic communication in the country we were in. It would include finding the grandest hotels to stay (with our open cheque book), tours and places of interest. Collecting photographs along the way (in this wonderful world of technology I'm sure I could photo-shop us in!).
I'm not sure where we'll go or what we'll do, I just know it will defiantly include Barry's home town in England and the home of Elvis (their joint passion). It will be full of laughs, tears and hopefully give her some enjoyment. Who knows we may even actually physically leave her house to venture down town!
Our minds are our greatest tool, our best friend or enemy. Limited only by our imagination, enriched by our thoughts, focus and choices. Although her choices and her state of mind are her own it is painful to watch and I can't walk away. She's my mother, I love her. So although I feel sometimes I've tried everything, I keep trying and she is happy to embark on this adventure with me....
When you love someone, you do all you can. But you always must remember to look after yourself. (Here's a link specific to just that - The Lighthouse take care of you).
My goal could merely be just a distraction because she won't seek professional help and feels there's nothing left in life to smile about, but I hope it will be a good one for her. My sister is now building a fabulous family tree with her, which seems to give her some joy.
I sincerely hope this post inspires creatively for those who are at a loss to help someone they love.
We start our journey in the little town of Camden, NSW, Australia where I excitedly write I'm on my way to pick her up and head to the airport. It's Tuesday morning 16th September, 2014, 6:30am my alarm goes off.
To be continued......Karen Offord › Blog › A Journey of a Different Kind Begins