Grief is by its nature very very difficult to write about. We pack in the loss, the ache, the loss of that joy of life as it was. Much harder is to really say what you feel, what the difficulties of life’s journey have been. All of them.
Shona Gulati’s account of her mother’s death is some of the most beautiful and raw writing I’ve ever experienced. It is powerful, it is painfully honest, and nothing is left out.
What also isn’t left out are the specifics of a difficult and complicated relationship with her family. And while these particulars don’t make for comfortable reading, they do build up the sheer weight of honest grief that comes from a relationship that wasn’t without its complications.
But if all families are complex and often have unbearable tensions - and clearly many in Shobna’s were to be resolved, or unresolvable, by the end of this book - so too is the experience of dementia. In this case it was the caring responsibility and the very particular circumstances of Asha Gulati’s condition. There aren’t many comforting words, or successful coping strategies, save for an acceptance and an understanding that it isn’t just forgetfulness, or senior moments, but a far more upsetting deterioration.
This is a brave book. But more than that it is a book with a serious and heavy expression of the one word that was so missing between Shobna and Asha all of their lives. So much was left unsaid, but it’s been said now. Love. Love. Love.