My mother was mostly very happy to see me today, but still, there were moments when the tears welled up, overtook her.
"I'm so lonely" she says. And I have nothing to offer. "I miss your father so much. He wasn't just my husband, he was my best friend." All I can do is hold her hand, murmur that I miss him too, pass her a tissue from the ever present box, to dry her tears.
Physically, she is in good shape; remarkably good shape for all she has been through and the state of her noisy, glitchy heart.
But I am losing her, bit by bit.
Moment to moment she is still herself, her eyes clear, her hand gripping mine in gratitude for my visit. We talk, we laugh.
And yet the dementia is visible everywhere. Her short term memory, bad for years, is now gone. Completely gone. And the long term memories are slip-sliding into the vast ocean of forgetfulness too.
I tell her of Simon's impending visit and instead of excited she looks quizzical. "Who is he again, now?"
"Your grandson." I tell her. "Bruce's son."
"Oh. How nice!"
And not two minutes later.
"Who is coming to see me?"
"Your grandson Simon." I call up his picture on my phone thinking that will help trigger memories.
"Oh, yes," she says, "such a handsome boy!"
But then after a mere moment, "Whose son is he again?"
And thus it comes.