I've recently come back from seeing my mum in the UK. She's been in a different home now for a year and is sliding each time I see her into a slightly foggier place, mentally. Luckily I am still me in her eyes and I dread the time where I might not be me but some other relative or friend . . .
It was a good visit: the weather was mostly kind so I could wheel her about around town and down by the river where we looked at herons and swans and talked about passing dogs and whether it was time to have a cup of tea yet.
The last day of my visit involved a trip to the coast by wheelchair taxi. It looked like it might rain and the taxi was half an hour late due to GPS directing the driver into some municipal car-park. I was beginning to fear the trip would be fated and stress-inducing with Mum querulously demanding I take her to the loo (utterly impossible) every five minutes and that the café would be shut, scones and tea just a mirage on the sand . . . BUT, it wasn't. It was one of life's perfect moments - sun, light warm breeze, distant clear views of loved land-marks; open tea-shop, scones, tea and a happy waiter called Victor.
On the way back to meet the taxi we were beguiled into 'buying' shells by a happy band of kids on the promenade, (much to their parents' embarrassment). I handed over 50p which sent them into raptures, and chose a large flat oyster-type shell, while Mum pointed out the more unusual one pictured on the left. She looked at it for some time while we waited for our lift and then announced that there was a small dog inside it. As she had said the home had given her wolf for lunch the day before I nodded and said 'really' as I wasn't sure what else to say.
Mum was never really a 'dog person' but in her own more misty world canine creatures seem to have become fascinating; a bit like when we are children I suppose.