I have no tears

For mum I have no tears,
As each year passed we faced
Her slowly becoming less
From being someone
Who laughed and smiled and danced
Her recipes lost before we knew they’d disappear

Her name is Sarah Vieda Veronica
But Sarah is all most know
She responds when I pretend to be her mum
Telling her off “Vieda!”
The way Grandma Annie did
Under the Caribbean sun

She looks lost like a child
Sitting there
Not really seeing
But hearing all the same
I have no more tears for the woman lost
She’s still here
Mourning seems unseemly
Too early I fear

As the process chips away
Like deletions random access only
Emptying her mind of data
Making space for nothing happened lately
Contented? That’s what they say
But tears run down her face sometimes
When I say my name

Her eyes brighten in recognition
A warmth would greet my arrival
Then she would enquire
Have you seen Yolande?
Yes I’d say she’s well
Now there are no requests
No responses to try to understand

Except music penetrates
Through the fog of incomprehension
Her feet tap her hands move in her lap
She closes her eyes
And smiles
Lost in a moments inspiration

I loved it when she used to sing along
But that stopped a while back
Now and then I see a response
But it’s only a throwback
Of a shadow, of a glimpse
Of the woman who loved
And the way she lived

She was alive vibrant pleasant
She touched those who knew her
Her workmates in the carehomes and residents
Said they loved her smile
A smile which returns
When a visitor comes

Her beautiful dresses self made in her youth
Her winkle pickers
Gloved hands cigarette in a holder
Lipstick smeared
Elegant – she was going to be ‘someone’
And then she became our mum

The wayward teen gone
Dependable reliable
Always supporting
Always caring for others
In occupation and at home

And then
It slowly ended
She ebbed away and faded
Her dignity gone her passions a dream
My mum the woman who used to be
No longer here
A shadow residing inside an earthly shell

I hold her hand
And she senses me near
I see a light of recognition in her eyes
Just a flash
Then it’s gone
Like I must accept
So has the woman who is my mum

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