memoirs, art and fragments by Thomas Milner

Evenings are another country

The days here at the Home have a semblance of normality but the evenings, well the evenings are another country where at times one’s thoughts are darkened by the sighs of the old ones lifting, vapours rising from the dark earth in a country church-yard.

They dip in and out of sleep with moist eyes fluttering weakly rolling in their sockets.

I am sitting by Sr. Manuel, tall, skeletal, fine distinguished face ravaged by sores and blotches spasmodic hands clutching flapping hiding his cavernous eyes weeping muttering quiet persuasive senseless words.

Sr. Manuel has Alzheimer’s Disease: not Mild Cognitive Impairment like a lot of old people here but full-blown Alzheimer’s.

The noise is intense (five or six women all talking near the top of their voices) and he is agitated; I recall that, unlike most people here, he is a cultivated man and was a journalist by trade and indeed had books published.

After the Noise has left quiet descends but I stay on at his side for about a quarter of an hour. His dark restless eyes skidding all over the place at times settle on me, intense and disturbing. I strive to empathize with him but without much success. I feel helpless and sad. I suspect he is in great mental agony. Is this my future?

THE FUTURE - PAINTING by THOMAS MILNER

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