In Memoriam of Patricia Lawrence
Patricia Doreen Lawrence, 1936-2017, was my mum. She grew up in the English Lake District and moved to the West Country after marrying in 1967. She managed a small tour operator and ran her own handknitwear business, designing and selling all her own creations, latterly from a studio at Broadwindsor Craft Centre, Dorset. In 2013, she suddenly came down with a condition that seemed part dementia (a decline in mental processing, an inability to make decisions), part physical (slowness, shuffling gait) and part depression (expressionless countenance, detachment - she'd had two previous episodes, so naturally we recognised this). The doctors in Yeovil struggled to find a diagnosis. First, mild cognitive impairment. Later, severe vascular dementia. A nurse even said anorexia - by that time, she'd complained of a difficulty swallowing, resulting in her not eating enough, which I believe was the ultimate cause of her death after a further seven months. The difficulty of diagnosis was exacerbated by a constant change of staff, with one locum doctor after another. But one, a consultant from Poland, had seen something and had mentioned DLB as a possibility to investigate. Looking back, a fortnight after her death, I believe he was probably right. But now that she has been cremated, there will be no autopsy, and we'll never know for sure. It was a difficult four years that gradually took Mum away from us, especially as I was living a thousand miles away and unable to help much. Dad did his best, but he didn't really understand either, I don't think. At least now she is at peace, and we can look back on the good times. RIP. I love you, Mum.