I love this woman in her ninety fourth year, this once sturdy country woman who fussed over me, always called me 'Murt', often laughed that I'd eat a bullock between two bread vans.
She looks so small now in the home, lying on an air pumped mattress, occasional sips of water all she'll allow past her lips. She knows not the day, the month nor the year but she loves conversation, is quick to laugh, remembers clearly the distant past, her husband long dead, her children, but cannot connect the past to the present.
Every time I see her could be the last but this time felt closer to the end, is closer to the end, I've been told. She remembers my name immediately
"Are you well Murt, you were sick?"
This woman prayed morning and night for me when I was fighting cancer, lit candles, her faith was unshakable.
"I'm doing grand Gran"
I kiss her forehead.
We chat about times past, she's comfortable there. I tell a story of holidaying in a caravan on the Burren with her and granddad Paggy. She laughs, it's a funny story.
It's time to leave, she tires easily.
"I love you gran" I whisper in her ear "you and Paggy were so good to me".
"Sure I love you too creathur"
We both know. Her memories are gone not her mind. I kiss her once again and leave.