7 October 2022

An Album for Amanda

 People, smiling

At the Doctor's in Snettisham, October 7th 2022

I had not seen Amanda for over a month - partly by design (my respite trip) and partly by bad luck (I caught COVID). Today we met.  Did she know who I am? Maybe there was some familiarity, but who was I?  Even I can't answer that.....

Anyway, I brought her a little album of snapshots from my holiday - pictures of people and places we shared together, in some cases for forty years or so.

You are who you meet; could that be sense?  It is hard to be someone without connections, just as it is hard to be you without your history.

This trip I have just made, has been a kind of piecing together of places Amanda and I frequented and revisiting of old friends of ours.

Amanda cannot talk about our past now, her ability to converse erased by dementia, but I want to believe that she might recognise some pictures, that faces and places might light some little candles in the empty space inside her head.

I won't put names to the faces - perhaps our friends would rather not be immortalised in this way - but I want to thank them for their friendship and support, and for their love of Amanda.

Rome is where we met.  And we shared so many times there, lounging in the infinity of experience, not thinking about the future, not caring about the past.....

My part of Rome was Trastevere - by the church of Santa Maria.  SPQR and fountains.  unchanged, unlike the people around.  Gone are all the traces of even the recent past - Gore Vidal, Anna Magnani, John Francis Lane..... Trilussa.  Watch Fellini's Roma to see this piazza exactly as it is now.

This was my front door.  Less daubed now than last time I passed by, but still firmly closed.  Seven years I lived behind those wooden panels.  Seven years of love and life.....

And this was the Rome I loved - the Tiber swirling past.  Leptospirosis and history.  A murky flow.

Then there was Lake Bracciano - the cool clear waters of an ancient caldera, still fuming gently, while we grew together.  Trevignano Romano, a kindly village, where we grew together, and grew our children.

Then there was Monte Amiata, a smouldering Tuscan giant

Where time stood still in an old farmhouse, so quiet my ticking watch would sound like a grandfather.

Held together in history for us by Corrado, always old, now very old.....

And it is people that really hold these pictures, these places, together.  I show them to Amanda.  She laughs in gentle pleasure.  But does she remember?  The faces have aged, the cells are new, but we were friends, and friendship holds us/held us together.  

Here is an album - no names - just a few  smiling people who gave us so much over the Italian years and who still care. It's not a complete gallery - just some happy snaps from September this year. A September without Amanda....

Thank you, friends....

*   *   *   *   *

And here is Amanda today:

October 7th 2022, Snettisham

And here was Amanda just three years ago - dancing to the music in Piazza Navona - so full of life and happiness.

Piazza Navona, September 10th, 2019

Pale brows, still hand and dim hair,
I had a beautiful friend
And dreamed that the old despair
Would end in love in the end:
She looked in my heart one day
And saw your image was there;
She has gone weeping away.

The Lover Mourns for the Loss of Love

W B Yeats

1 comment:

  1. Of course it made her happy. You took great photos! May you always do for others and let others do for you. Thank you for sharing, teach