AFTER months of heart breaking lack of response from her Alzheimer's affected mother,Barbara was delighted to get a smile and a 'hello'.
DURING my time as a reporter I have shared many Fisher family moments with readers, but the story of my mum's decline into Alzheimer's was the one readers remember the most.
Nearly four years on, I would like to tell you about Neville Williams House, where she lives in Birmingham.
At the nursing home, which is owned by a charity, there is lots of love and laughter, even though many residents have dementia and need round-the-clock care.
In stark contrast to the gloomy stories about care homes today, at NWH, daily activities include crafts, jigsaws, watching a DVD, or ploughing through a pile of magazines.
A walk (or a push) in the garden will take you to where a clutch of chickens are flapping about and a couple of pigs are snuggled up in their pen.
There are tables and chairs to sit in the sun, and even a water feature next to the patio.
In the big lounge I have chilled to the soothing sound of a violinist, enjoyed a school nativity play, and even been roped in by a guest entertainer to play a mean maracas.
Sadly, my mum does not now talk, walk or feed herself, and for the past few months hasn't even opened her eyes when I've visited, or responded to me in any way.
This is someone who worked at Aston University, adored trips to the cinema and theatre, was very extrovert and just loved life.
This woman who looks like my mother, and to all intent and purposes is still my mother, now seems not to know who I am, or be aware I am there at all.
The professionals warned me to expect an even more dramatic decline as time goes on, but last weekend I had a marvellous surprise when mum opened her eyes and smiled at me across the lounge.
As I held her hand she fixed me with genuine recognition and whispered 'hello', the first word I have heard her utter since Christmas.
To see her conscious was enough, but then she moved her hand towards me and very tenderly, and maternally, brushed my hair out of my eyes.
My mum was back, if only for a short time, and I have never been so grateful.