Read an extract from Song for Rosaleen

Image features an extract of Pip Desmond’s memoir Song for Rosaleen:

This extract from Pip Desmond’s new book Song for Rosaleen is an unflinching account of the practical and ethical dilemmas that faced six children when their mother was diagnosed with dementia. 

Mum tripped carrying a basket of wet clothes down a concrete step to the washing line at the back of the house, a dark corner that never saw the sun.

She jarred her spine but somehow her bones survived the impact. As a precaution, her GP put her on a bone density drug called Fosamax.

Mum had to take the unwieldy pill once a week, first thing in the morning, on an empty stomach. Afterwards, she wasn’t allowed to lie down, eat or drink for half an hour. Every time I called in, she waved the box at me and asked me to explain the instructions again. The fall seemed to have shaken up more than her delicate frame.

If I mentioned her forgetfulness, she'd tell me everyone her age complained of the same thing. Memory like a sieve. In one ear, out the other. ‘Megan's right,’ she'd say, parroting my daughter: ‘Grandma, you just need to concentrate.’

Read the full extract here.