Phoned grandma and spoke to her and we glowed for half an hour in laughter and it was funny and lovely and I had to repeat a few times where I was going and I made her laugh and I brought grandpa into the conversation who could be heard from his chair making comments in the background and we all laughed and joked and talked about this and that and I made my grandma feel warmth and love and joy and at the end of the conversation I made sure she heard me tell her that I loved her and to send grandpa my love then she asked: "And what's your name?" And all the love that had been built up in the conversation felt even stronger as emotion choked me up a little that she didn't know my name and I told her who I was and we hung up on the warmest terms that any two people who don't know each other could possibly have over a phone. And I walked down the high street with smeared puddles of rain and buses slicing through slush and shop windows lit up with Christmas lights literally past some carol singers like a clichéd movie towards a shit gig in a shit room in a shit part of town but I couldn't focus on any of it, I just felt a bit emotional thinking about my grandma and how life takes everything from you - your health, your strength - even your memories. And this could give way to morbid despair but I came away with a small gem in accepting this is the game - what can you do? It all points towards the one true reality - that all you have in life is the moment you are experiencing here and now. Don't even pin your hopes on banking your memories or filing away the good times to ponder and reflect on - all you have is the moment you are experiencing here and now. And in that moment what we experienced was real and I know that my love for her is real and I know that the love we created in the conversation was real and I know that love itself is real and I know the conversation was worth it even if putting down the telephone she thought for a brief moment I was just a nice man she'd spoken to rather than a grandson she'd known for thirty eight years and who held me in her arms as a baby.
- December 2017, Kentish Town
If you get anything from my words please consider becoming a free or paid subscriber 💕
Oh Lee (if I am not being being impertinent addressing you by your first name),
I lost both my grandmother and father to dementia. My father seemed to like me more after he could not remember who I was - I was a gay, artsy kid, and I think he was ashamed of me - but dementia stripped that away, too, so maybe we connected on a more genuine level. And I have lost so much to the nerve disease I have - all the skills I acquired are gone - art, music, dance are gone. And because of the family history, I am constantly scanning my brain, and I think I am finding lapses in how my brain functions - normal aging or the first signs of Alzeimer's? But so it goes. I have absolutely no insight into what gives life meaning when so little is left. Life's capacity for cruelty seems limitless.
An American fan