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Funerals and Focaccias

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Elizabeth Terry

It was held in a cafe in the gardens adjacent to the golf course, the cafe where Doris and her daughter Nerida went for tea and cake every Sunday. Doris had flourished in her nursing home, despite the waves of Parkinson’s which threw her onto the floor numerous times, and then the dreaded dementia crept upon her.

Nerida would visit her mother every Saturday bringing a new toothbrush, new underpants, however each week these items mysteriously disappeared. Unlikely objects of desire one would think, so undoubtedly Doris’s issue with short term memory loss was the cause.

Queenie from the next room arrived with a big smile and a bunch of pink flowers one bright morning. “Happy 90th birthday Doris.”

“Oh, is it my birthday? Well, thank you, what beautiful flowers.”

Later that afternoon Queenie popped in again for her regular late afternoon visit. “Who gave you the flowers Doris? They’re very pretty.”

“I don’t know.”

Obviously neither of them recalled Queenie’s morning visit nor the birthday party held in the dining room, despite the huge pink iced cake with nine candles brought in by Nerida, along with two new toothbrushes and four new underpants. After all it was Doris’s birthday. In addition Nerida brought her a beautiful lavender cardigan wrapped in pink tissue and a white satin ribbon. The large card signed by Nerida and her daughter Zoe had an idiotic smiling cartoon puppy on the front holding a glittering banner: ‘90 today?’ It is interesting that a question mark is deemed necessary on a card for the elderly. Are you really 90, are you really 90 today?  The question is obviously so others would think the nonagenarian doesn’t look a day over 80. Ninety year-olds are like that.

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