Losing the Faith

I have tried to call my mother every day for the last five.

She does not pick me up.

She is languishing in bed and melancholic.

Though she does not call it this: melancholy. 

She no longer has the words or the imagination or even perhaps the ability to consider herself with such introspection. 

She just says, ‘I’m not feeling very well today’.

She picks up my sister’s calls. Her sister’s.

But not mine.

Sorry, I couldn’t think who Anthea was.

My father’s memory disappeared long ago. Then mine. My brother’s will be next I think as she is sometimes uncertain as to who he is to her, who he is to us. Then my sister, then hers and last of all, her dead parents. For there is still the memory of her mother. And India.

Dementia is a hand on a blackboard eraser, it sweeps back over time so that memories disintegrate and fall, chalky as dust, to the floor where they are swept away to nothingness.

My morning was ridiculously, brutally, beautifully blue.

So that as I stood on the top of the farm and looked west towards Meru the sky was swept entirely clean. Not a cloud. Only the moon, like a disc of communion bread. Papery-white. I remember the sensation of the sacrament dissolving on my tongue until there was nothing left.

My religion has abandoned me.

My mother’s memory has abandoned her.

Once upon a time she’d have urged me to mass. And I’d have gone, out of a sense of duty. More to her than any god. 

Sometimes I stood beside her in quiet churches with vaulted ceilings so that the sounds of a congregation settling or their soaring voices collecting were amplified, drifted outside to wintery streets.

And sometimes I was seized by such a sense of peace. 

Perhaps I should have kept the faith?

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