About eighty years separate this photograph of my Mother, taken around 1936 when she was 18, and this drawing, hastily completed as she concentrated on her newspaper last Saturday afternoon:
In between she had two children, lived through the war that brought with it many personal tragedies, suffered a betrayal by one of her two brothers, and moved into – and later out of – her dream house. She outlived her brothers and her five sisters and nursed her husband – my Father – through his only serious illness (which eventually killed him) – all etched in the lines on her face.
It’s probably about 75% accurate as a portrait: what I couldn’t capture is her humour. Despite everything that life has thrown at her she has a wonderful sense of the ridiculous, so much so that it was difficult to detect the onset of her dementia five or six years ago. Now that reality is something of a sliding scale for her, the disappointments of her life have largely fallen away leaving intact her ability to laugh.
Although she sometimes feels alone, or tired, or lost – despite being supported in her own home by a network of carers and daily visits by my brother – how wonderful to approach one’s 98th birthday with laughter and amusement!