¨Chisgaravís¨

Too many moments, too many good moments, to see that we now barely have a lost stare, disordered words and the gift of an odd smile that may come from a happy thought some small moment of lucidity has allowed her to salvage.  Chisgaravís.

That’s how it all began.  A word invented to replace the first lapses of the mind: ¨pass me the chisgaravís¨, ¨put your chisgaravís on, its cold¨… It was fun; we even used “her word”, because “obviously” it was just the absent-mindedness of the elderly.  It couldn’t be anything else.

But bit by bit, very gradually, the moment arrives when too many words are missing, the first confessions of forgetfulness: “I’ve got to give you something and I don’t know what it is “. And I would say “let us help you mum, there’s lots of us to help you”, but she would reply: “If I let you help me, it will be the end”. Since then we learnt to reply to her repeated questions, as if each time were the first time she had asked them, to help her by making her feel that it was she who was doing things, to ignore it every time she made a mistake. To check everything she did without her realising.  Because the best medicine for this disease is giving.

Now, Laila looks at us, sometimes she finds us and is gladdened, and others she doesn’t know who we are, but I am sure that every word we say, every kiss we give her, every song she listens to (music was her passion) holds a space – however small – in her mind. On our part, we will continue to celebrate every smile, every gesture of happiness when she finds us at her side.

She has always given so much… she must receive so much more.

Jeannette Cid André

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