A solitary quiet moment in 2015 in granny’s kitchen when she’s shuffled off to the bathroom. A respite and yet always a premonition of the emptiness of her kitchen without her in it. Sister post to “yellow roses // to love, and to remember” (January 2015).
on an old graveyard, I found you again
after we lost you in January
the sun on my face, the gravestones shining
names and numbers, years, lived, and ended
love and loss, permeating the air, shimmering
and you in the midst of it all
with me, wherever I go
the oldest source of my life
Dear beloved little granny,
yesterday, like every Tuesday during our visit, when we said we had to leave, you asked me in a small voice if I could not always stay with you and help you.
It breaks my heart, the way you make odd mistakes in your choice of words and grammar, because the language part of your brain that has been working tirelessly for 90 years cannot keep up with the overwhelming strength of your wish to express what you feel. It breaks my heart, the consistency with which you ask if I can stay, although you forget everything else that happens within minutes or even seconds;
but your helplessness has caught up with you anyway.
What a cruel thing, to know, even if subconsciously, that you do not know a lot anymore. To remember that a lot of what you do is forget. To not understand why, but to feel you need help.
I wish I could do more for you, hold onto you and your memories and your deeply kind personality, but in a way, I am as helpless as you are.
Yours forever, Judith
It always happens the same way, several times during each visit. She sees the yellow roses I brought, her face lights up, and she retells the story. Although her dementia tends to wildly jumble her stories together, she always gets this one right.
It was shortly after the end of the second world war; she and grandfather were going to marry. But no matter how hard he tried, he simply could not find any red roses for her bouquet. In the end, he had to take yellow roses – the only roses he could find. From that day on, he always gave her yellow roses. Each and every anniversary, every birthday, yellow roses, for her.
She always gets this story right.