Memorium Mori

The view from my car is pleasant.

With my back to the old graveyard, I have a view of the English countryside before me. My small thermos of “posh coffee” is open and steaming up the windscreen as I dunk another custard cream.

It’s deceiving really. Beyond the tree line and below the rolling hills but tucked out of view is a large piece of farmland. It’s long past its best and awful to walk through. At its centre is a small boating lake with a yacht club (single seater, not Monte Carlo).
The town hall wants to develop it but locals are in uproar. Folk who never set foot on its muddy paths and boring fields are writing angry letters to maintain the green belt.

Below the treeline and filling my view is a nicely kept memorial garden filled with plants and added plastic flowers and dotted with the occasional wooden arch. Meandering paths are empty at the moment: my only companions have, like me, retreated to their cars for warmth.

Dad passed away three years ago today. In a couple of hours in fact. Mum had taken him to the dentist who had refused to examine him as he was congested.

They’d got back and she’d made him some lunch. By this time he was frail and it was pureed and thickened to help him swallow. He’d eaten a little and she had nodded off next to him waiting for him to finish. He slept too and like this, warm fed and with The Missus, he quietly slipped away.

She woke and busied herself tidying away and getting him some pureed pudding only to find him still and quiet and cold in his chair.

His funeral and cremation were well attended with both of my brothers appearing. Her family, long since estranged, didn’t show.

Del and Ricky were an item for over fifty years and his passing has destroyed her. As his constant carer her mind has disintegrated.

I doubt she knows it’s the anniversary of his death today.

Her thoughts are tangled up with missing keys and bank cards. With deceit and treachery. With the suffering she has for so long advertised to anyone who will listen. With pushing folk away and then complaining about her loneliness.

Today these complaints have no one to hear them. So she scribbles almost illegible notes to herself about the perceived misdeeds of those around her. Her carers are in and out in 15 minutes, performing their duties with little time for her long mournful monologues.

With nothing to complain about, apart from her own self imposed isolation, she has started to create nonsense tales of misdoing about the last people in the world who actually care for her.

Such is dementia.

The coffee’s gone now and a new party of heavy coated mourners have arrived with flowers and I watch them scuttle across the cold windswept garden.

I don’t come her for solace. Dad has gone and his ashes in a nice box with a metal plate are parked beneath a rose bush nearby.

I cleaned the burial plaque which sits in front of the bush today but felt no ties to the spot.

He’d be horrified by her behaviour and would tell her to pull her socks up.

All we can do is ignore the dementia and enjoy the parts of Mum that are still with us.

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