Will Not Let Me Go

The story begins with a funeral, and we seem to be in a crabby mood. It looks as if we've crashed the event, but it turns out we haven't. The deceased is our wife, the strange man beside us is our son, and we act like it's a stranger's funeral because we're spiralling into dementia. Oof. Now there's a heavy topic if ever there was one....

The rest of the story is made up of scenes taken from the journey downwards, but presented out of order. The effect of this is that we're not always sure if we're actually in a scene as it happens, or confusing one event for another. We get some interactivity within some scenes in the form of hypertext choices, but I'm not sure what effect these choices have on the overarching story of the gradual loss of our mental faculties. I suppose this is an "experience the thing with me" sort of interactive fiction, but I'd still like to feel that my decisions have some sort of cumulative effect on the story's ending. If we can't change the actual destination, then could we at least have some kind of assessment of the journey?

My grandmother suffered from dementia. The journey there was harrowing, but once she got there ... she was happy all the time, as if the whole world was her own private joke. I'm told that different people end up differently, so I wonder ... I wonder if consistent behaviour one way could affect the final form of our hero's dementia? Or would that seem too much as though it were implying that we are ultimately culpable ... would it perhaps even seem to be trivialising the topic?

In spite of the theme, though, I still feel that there's a certain lack of focus. The beginning and the end and several middle bits seem to imply that the focus is meant to be on our relationship with our wife. But if that's the case, then what are the scenes with our friends Tom and Dick supposed to signify? If, on the other hand, this is supposed to be an overview of dementia as a whole, then what is that final scene for? Perhaps that final scene is simply what's playing in our mind as we're shuffled around in a nursing home, but it feels much more as though it's played straight, as a bona fide flashback.

Breakfast? Porridge. Hot, with honey, and a supply of cold milk to either add to the porridge or drink on its own. There's quite a lot of it to consume. And it goes down easily enough, but it'll sit kind of heavily in your stomach for a while after. In the immortal words of Dylan Thomas, "Praise the Lord who made porridge."