The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

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Life Among the Stones – Epilogue

Posted on February 1, 2019

The funeral had been an unexpected affair.  The length of the nave at St. James was like a busy roadway, people coming and going in all directions, seeking seats to park themselves in.  Standing off to the side from where the choir sang, Jennifer, Elizabeth and Robin had a direct line of vision on those in attendance. “My goodness, it appears as though all of Fleet Street has come to show their respects,” noted Elizabeth, her keen eye and connections to London’s elite apparent.  Fleet Street had been the home of England’s great publishing houses that had planted themselves there since the 16thcentury.  The name itself had become synonymous with the country’s newspaper industry. Elizabeth then noted the forlorn, but well-fashioned figure of Amit Laghari, Alberta’s only superior…

Life Among the Stones – Dénouement (Chapter 18)

Posted on January 30, 2019

Things were getting more difficult with each passing week.  Doris, the personal care worker, proved her worth repeatedly, but, still, the load on all of those caring for Alberta was increasing.  And, somehow, in all her confusion and forgetfulness, she knew it.  She could see the strain showing on those around her. She said as much one morning, as Jenny took her for a walk in the local park.  Her position in the wheelchair was warm enough, covered, as she was, in layers of clothing, a comforter, and a woolen toque.  Seated opposite her, on a cold bench, Jenny talked about anything and nothing – things to keep her mother’s mind engaged with the day. At one point, she blew her warm breath into her chilled palms and then rubbed…

Life Among the Stones – The Caregivers (Chapter 17)

Posted on January 28, 2019

The rigors of the Christmas season appeared to have been the turning point.  Alberta visibly declined in the weeks following, at times not wanting to get out of bed.  She still spoke with clear articulation, but the rest of her body seemed to be in revolt. Everyone around her understood that late-stage dementia was having its way with her already frail condition.  It seemed clear to Jenny that her mother understood her state and was doing her best to manage it.  They could still enjoy lengthy talks, but, inevitably, Alberta would lose her train of thought or bring up another subject totally unrelated to the discussion. It was a welcome benefit that England’s winter, this year, was unseasonably warm, permitting Alberta to sit out in her garden, sometimes for…

Life Among the Stones – Away in a Manger (Chapter 16)

Posted on January 27, 2019

The shops of Clerkenwell came alive at Christmas.  A civic culture that went back centuries had developed traditions and practices geared towards bringing citizens together through song, eating, celebrating, and, naturally, shopping.  A timely Christmas Eve falling of fresh snow introduced an even more heightened collective sentimentality. Sandy and Alberta had always maintained his family’s tradition of opening presents on Christmas Eve, exactly at midnight.  These had been some of the happiest moments of life for Jennifer and Robin and almost always led to nights of no sleep. This occasion was obviously going to be different, as everyone understood that it would likely be Alberta’s last.  That knowledge created a poignant sense of joy and tragedy that permeated everything the family did.  The routine was always the same –…

Life Among the Stones – On Her Own Terms (Chapter 15)

Posted on January 24, 2019

A few weeks later, Alberta surprised her children by entering the kitchen in a fashionable dress, with the desire to go to church.  When they informed her that it was Thursday evening and not Sunday morning, she grew confused and disappointed.  She looked at her watch – an old, but elaborate, self-wind timepiece – and couldn’t figure out what had gone wrong. “Did you remember to wind it, Mom?” asked Jennifer, to which her mother closed her eyes in understanding. “But I want to pray,” she affirmed. On a whim, Robin phoned the church and discovered that the choir practiced every Thursday evening, and that the church would remain open until the session had concluded.  “Come on, Mom, I’ll take you.  The last time I was in church…