Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Big Picture

Mum said ‘You should have been Recognised years ago’.

She actually meant Diagnosed but couldn’t find the word.

Recognised is what I always wanted. But diagnosed is what I’m left with.

Still I sucked the jus out of ‘Recognised’ while I had it.

‘Wow. That’s so nice of you to say. Thanks Ma’.

‘Aunty Glad was also a bit funny. Bless her.’

By funny she meant a bit mental.

My Ma has relaxed since I told her I was diagnosed with Depression. She couldn’t understand what had happened to me. I was always so focused? I must have been drinking. But now my Despair all makes sense to her. I come from a long line of beautiful sensitive Aunts who all had break downs in middle age. But it took Altziemers to bring them all to my attention. Memory is never so strong as when you are about to lose it. Now the living and the dead are all standing in one room and having a knees up Mother Brown. It’s gothic and it’s spooky. You have to get in to gallows humour to truly appreciate it. There’s no holding back now. All the old skeletons come rattling out of Rookwood, and none ask to be invited. The gloves are off, the veils are dropped and it goes for the jugular while it cracks you up. It’s hilarious and terrifying and all in one sentence.

That’s Altzeimers.

So you have to make friends with the Grim Reaper. Or at least learn to look him in the eye and stare him down. Because everywhere, at every turn that scythe wielding prick is sneaking up behind you. Except he’s not there to escort you to the other life, he’s just there to empty you of everything that once comforted you and defined you. First he takes your short term memory. And steals your words and the end of your stories. And it’s not like a hold up. There’s no ‘Hands Up and Gimme’. He just pilfers it away like a sadistic miser. And then he mocks you. He’s an asshole. He uproots your buried dreams. And lets every bogey man out of the closet to shake his limbs. It’s like a bogey man disco. You all start off crumping and end up in a barefoot tango being dragged by the hair across the dance floor. There are no steps. There is no mercy. Logic is a fucking joke and Science aint gunna save you. There is no cure for Altzeimers. Only love can gently guide you through a landscape full of mine bombs…

‘Oh yes. Aunty Glad was superstitious about the colour green. I remember that.’

‘Oh pet you don’t know the half of it. I’ll tell you someday’. But not now. Now I’m busy. I’ve a lot going on in my head.

Oh I know. You must. I love you. If you need me I’m here…’

Yes I love all my children. You’ve all grown into deep people. But stop drinking.

Mum I’m not a drinker.

And say your prayers.

‘Yes I’m praying madly.


In prayer she never fights for words. Prayer is our bridge.

I feel yours too Ma!’

‘Oh yes it works. I know it works. I’m praying all the time for you! And I’m praying that you don’t bring me any food. It gives me back ache. ‘

God is an Anarchist.


  1. Gorgeous, poignant, lovely and real. That's you and your gift, your flare for language and for the guts to put it out there. Being a true believer as a great man once coined it may sound hackneyed nowadays but I still believe it is what makes us human and real and necessary. That feature of your writing has never diminished in the time we've known each other Weds. As for the Reaper man, he comes to us all, whether it be a fast or slow Fate. What does one do about that pray tell? BTW your Ma's sounds total a peach. They make early what we become in the end, thanks be to whoever for good parents. I look forward to your next screed with much anticipation. love gas.

  2. my partner's mother has just had a remarkable improvement in her altzeimers through a procedure so not sanctioned by AMA or Altzeimers Association. Unfortunately I don't think it will work on my mother.

  3. I am really touched by all of your comments. It's such a painful time and it sounds like you're going through it too Datson. <3 that is so great you are there for her. It's agonising for mum because she fades in and out and she knows that she's losing it but she will rage against it until the disease encloses her and forces her surrender. But I think that will be less painful for her than this cruel phase. She is a peach Filth:) I love her for her independent fighting spirit. She resents offers of help because she resents her loss of independence. It breaks my heart. I want to save her but i can't :( Love your spirit Filth and your work. Your words are gold. thank you. xxx