Over the last couple of years my last remaining grandparent, my mother´s mother, has been rapidly losing the battle with dementia and Alzheimer´s. A great mixture which caused the paranioa that all her hose fittings would be stolen, led her to take them and hide them all and then not remember that she had done it, convincing her that the hose fittings HAD been stolen. For the last three years my mother has lived with her and looked after her, something I´m sure I wouldn´t have been able to do.
But now Nanna´s in a home where she gets great care and is still close to Mum. Here she´s made a new friend, another old batty woman who´ll I´ll call Dotty because I can´t actually remember her name, who she talks to all day, usually about the same things. They go and hide in Nan´s room when Mum brings a bag of lollies and scoff them all down, giggling like girls.
And they try and escape.
Dotty has it in her head that if she gets home she can look after Nan and herself and they´ll sit there all sumer enjoying the roses in her garden. So several times a week she grabs her coat and my grandmother and makes her way to the front door. This has a double door "airlock" type arrangement, but the only way out the external door is with the pin number. So the two of them huddle in this airlock for hours, waiting for someone to be buzzed in from the outside and then they make their grand dash for freedom.
It´s worked several times, with them being picked up again in the carpark. Last week, as they patiently stood in the airlock, the manager walked passed and said "Dotty, would you come out of there?". What did she do, this sweet, lovely, eighty year old woman?
She turned around and stuck her finger up at him.
Go, Nan! Go, Dotty! You go girls! Don´t let the bastards bring you down!
I can´t wait to see Nan again, even though she no longer really knows who I am. And I´m taking her a cake with a nailfile baked into it.