When my mum was diagnosed with dementia in 2014, I had no idea about the harsh reality of this cruel condition. Over the next three years, I watched the strong woman I once knew fade away into a stranger I no longer recognised.
As her condition declined, we knew we had to make one of the hardest decisions of our lives, a decision that no family ever wants to make.
My mum had always been adamant that she never needed, or wanted, any kind of care. She was a young-looking 71-year-old, who despite her dementia, was still very young at heart.
“Sit down now! Look me in the eye and promise that you will never, ever, put me in a care home! I would rather die than be left in an institution. Tell me you would never do that.”
These are the exact words my mum said to me in April 2018. It broke my heart lying to the woman who I loved the most, as unbeknown her, we had already booked her a room to live in a residential care home.
My dad had done the best he could, but it was no longer safe for my mum to live unassisted.
On the 27th of April 2018, I collected my mum from her house for the final time. She was totally oblivious to the fact that once she said goodbye to her husband and walked out the door, she would never return to the home where they had lived together for the last 30 years.
I expected to be consumed by guilt as I waited in the care home reception whilst my mum was settling in. But it took me by surprise at how relieved I felt. Yes, our lives were going to be very different from that moment on, but my mum was safe and that was all that mattered.
One year on I can hand on heart say that it has got easier and that we definitely made the right decision.
Before she lived in the care home, my mum would often cry and say that she wanted to go home, even though she was in her own house. I believe what she really wanted was the feeling which she associated with home, the feeling of being safe.
She is safe now, so she is home.
I've Lost my Mum is out now and available on Amazon.co.uk
Cassandra Farren will be launching her book 'I've Lost my Mum' at Ferrars Hall Care Home on Thursday 23rd May from 6 pm. If you'd like to come to the event please email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your place or click here for details.