Afterwards we went to the home where our grandmother, who has Alzheimer's lives. We all sat around her in the courtyard eating cake in honour of her 84th, kissing her soft plump cheeks. She was conscious but doped in a daze.
It is so hard to see her like this; to remind ourselves what she was once like, to see our grandfather nurture her like a baby. But it's even harder to see our mum, now motherless for the most part. Mum graduated from her course last week and said she missed her mother terribly, and wished she could share her life with the mother she once had.
It's so hard not to ache, and at the same time it's so hard to feel entirely present, because we want to remember our grandmother like she was.
On the train on the way home, a mother and young daughter got on and sat in the seats in front of me. When the train started moving the child asked why we were going the wrong way. "We're not going the wrong way," the mother replied. "Our seats are just facing backwards."
This small exchange has stayed with me ever since: the correction of navigation with perspective.