Christmas is always difficult for me as it is with many people.
16th December 1999, I lost my mum to a brain aneurysm. A sudden death with no warning, I was only 16. I still remember mum complaining of headaches days before it happened. Being a single working mum, she dismissed it as another headache and didn't get checked out. Days later she sadly died on our front porch alone and was found by a passer-by while I was at my part-time job. A neighbour came and got me and told me what had happened before taking me to the hospital, where I had to see her by myself then had to explain to my Nan what had happened when she arrives
Still, now it is difficult to remember and talk about, but now I have children of my own who ask about Nan, where is she? Who was she? What was she like? Difficult questions to answer and as I was just a child myself when she died, some questions I can’t answer or only have the answer from a scared teenagers point of view.
When my partner started creating Myography, it was originally designed to support older adults and their families in dealing with their illness and the inevitable. But I thought hang on, why can’t it work for me too! perhaps it could help me come to terms finally with mum’s passing and help me answer not only my own questions about mum but questions my children have about Nanny.
So together with my partner Ben, daughter Samantha and my son Harrison we began to find out everything about mum. I could remember of course much of her life when she had me, but it was before I came along I wanted to learn more about, what was she like before she became a mum. We began to ask the family and family friends everything about mum, what school did she go to, what hobbies did she have when she was young. Who was her first love, it was only now I discovered she was previously married before meeting my father, a fact I knew nothing about? I don’t know why she felt she couldn’t tell me.
Discovering these things I feel has brought me closer to knowing mum in her youth, to know she was a normal person. It also led me to a new contract, her ex-husband to find out more about her. We have gathered new photos, photos of mum in different countries, spending time with friends and having fun.
We are now beginning to gather all our facts, pictures and slides together, so we can put them into mum’s Myography. We haven’t finished, we keep discovering more about mum, helping me bring me closer to her and to my own daughter Sam as we travel this journey together. It’s been an invaluable project helping me and my family, I look forward to the fact that mum’s Myography will be a forever keepsake for me, my children and their children. That mum, nan, great nan will be forever part of our lives.
My partner, Ben designed Myography after seeing the effects of dementia on individuals and families, as a Social Worker he saw people that were sad and grieving, were unsure what to say or do when they were with their loved ones and anxious. We created Myography so everyone involved could add their memories to the book, so families could focus on the positives, had an activity they could do with their loved one whilst by their side and ultimately had their loved one's story to pass on to generations to come.