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3488 km

My dear daddy. You know how he was killed?

How was he killed, grandma?

Oh, that’s completely… We still didn’t have a single person on… on hand to… to take away. So… his made it in time. Wasn’t there… And that’s what the main one there said, who, what’s his name: “I didn’t know it would be like that.” That one, there, in Kanda-, there… I forget what’s his... Doesn’t matter.

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My grandmother has dementia. She has almost entirely lost her memory to the extent that she does not remember her own name or who her family members are, and she even started forgetting where she lives. Her house is full of photographs, but she does not recognize the majority of the people in them. Over the course of the last five years, my mother tried to persuade my grandmother to move in with her so that she could take care of her, but my grandmother always refused. However, as my grandmother’s illness progressed it became a growing threat to her own and others’ wellbeing—she had started forgetting whether she ate and didn’t always remember to turn off the water or the stove. Thus, we were left with no other choice than to take her to Moscow under false premises, so that she could get the professional care she needed, which wasn’t available in her home town.

We had to convince my grandmother to come with us on a 2000-kilometer drive back to Moscow, even though she would forget that she had spoken to us a mere fifteen minutes ago. When my mother and I arrived, we understood that we had become strangers to her, even though my mother would call her on a daily basis. So, to persuade my grandmother, we told her that we would take her to the Moscow Victory Day Parade on the Red Square. On the way back, she became aggressive, attacked my mother, and attempted to run away onto the highway when we took a break at a gas station. Altogether, this was a five-day trip of 4000 kilometers, three ambulance calls, and only two nights of sleep.

That's them, not me. There was money, money was taken. You gave them?

Everything’s alright, but you have to stay at the hospital for a little while.

I won't.

But you said that you would stay there at least for an hour.

I won't. That's what I said, but I won’t, because I don’t have anything anymore.

The doctor will come by and have a look at you so that your headache will go away.

She doesn't hurt.

But don't you sometimes complain that it hurts?

Sometimes, I do that on purpose.

Well I’m walking, so that it will be too.

In order to be in good shape.

Yes, to be.

That's great. Really? Of course.

She would have to be a lot, a lot. Entirely sick, Entirely sick. I say: “Tanya, but you would not be sick be it” “You don’t believe me that I’m sick?” Nonetheless, she’s still sick.

You're doing everything right.

But I don't even give it a minute.

She's entirely. So I'm sitting at home waiting for her, she goes to them. Opens: I not coming over. Well fine, as you wish, do as you must.

And how long ago did this happen?

Recently. Just at that time. Again they go: “We’re going, we won't be coming over”. I tell them: “I won’t cry, don’t think I will. So do what you want.” For me, you can live your whole life like that, I don’t care. Like that. Always like “we won’t be coming over.” If you won't come, I won't cry. Do as you must.

Grandma, you'll go with us, right?

But we aren’t alone?

Of course not, we're not alone.

Because I know where to go. I all the time, but in this weather no one will take it.

Tomorrow, we'll go with you and ask for permission to go.

Doesn't matter, they won't give it...

For you, they'll try.

I'm very… So that everything would be there… That… I, I… That’s there.

Look, the weather isn't that bad anymore.

Sure, but down there.

The ground is damp, you mean?

Everybody's there, they didn't give it to me then.

Grandma, we'll ask.

I think they won't give it.

Where did I leave it?

What did you lose?

Ah, there probably. In the other. I didn’t lose it. I have another on there. Not one, but they give as many as you want.

Give what?

Well, those.

And in Murmansk I walk to my father on foot. That’s, th- … But of course he i-isn’t there… Closer.

But we can’t walk like you do.

Of course, but nobody taught me. Nobody taught me.

You, by yourself.

Yes, by myself.

Yeah. My grandmother… mother was like that. Also that all the time. Also, but, of course she had different work.