Kind, concerned people have been asking after my mother. Here she is. We all went to see her a couple of weeks ago as part of our family holiday to India.  I think she was actually better this time than when I last went to see her in August, when she seemed fed up and listless and unable to concentrate on anything I was saying for more than a couple of minutes. I get that from other people too, as it goes. We found her still frail but, on seeing her grandchildren, and being reminded who they were – remember that she hasn’t seen either of them in months – she perked up no end.

My mum, though dependent on her hearing aid, often decides she’s prefer not to wear it, which means that the best way of communicating with her is by writing in a notebook. Amazingly, she can still read English. This method has the additional advantage that one can turn leaf back the pages when she she asks the same question again and again. It saves an awful lot of frustration.

For someone who used to talk at us non-stop, she doesn’t seem to say much anymore but conveys a lot of how she feels by gesture and facial expression. She even managed a visual joke about how, one by one, the children and OH looked, and made a comically disgusted face when she looked at me. This effort did wear her out quickly, though.

The Sister in the unit reports that my mum has now settled in well and is no longer the petulant sort who used to repeat again and again that she was hungry then throw her half-eaten food on the floor or tip her drink down herself in protest at being there. She only has a bad mood swing every couple of weeks.

So that’s a relief.

I hate leaving her there though. I am convinced that it’s the right place for her in terms of her cultural makeup but I can’t help wishing I could see her more often. Which is not something I would have said a year ago, if I’m honest.