Today’s my mother’s 86th birthday. I gather together a small bag of things that might stimulate or trigger a memory. Soap – translucent – looking like a giant wine gum; a small bunch of lavender from the garden; a chocolate heart; rose scented powder; a card depicting a stylised branch of apple blossom similar to the ones she painted on silk scrolls when I was young.

Will and Kat made a card with a photo of them both; they’d strewed and sewed it with buttons and beads making it tactile and surprising.

I bake scones with buttermilk, butter and eggs and take them over for tea along with strawberries, clotted cream and homemade jam. The dogs come too.

She is happy and bright and twinkles when I arrived. This is a good day for her. We sit and chat; her about nothing yet everything that means something; I about something that means nothing. I open cards and presents that have no real significance. Her eyes travel to a far away place that buzzes and pulses with a life’s worth of memories. When she returns she looks at me with such intensity and depth I feel the one that has lost connection.

She eats the scones. I feed her small mouthfuls and see how she savours the sweet soft crumbly texture; I watch delight as she tastes a morsel of strawberry; she screws up her face with pleasure.

She tires quickly today. There has been much excitement. As she drifts into sleep I sit and stare and stare and stare at her face…I’m overwhelmed.

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