Memory of Mom: An Afternoon at Valley Green

Written by Victoria Pendragon on May 13, 2012

Victoria Pendragon is an artist and author who has written “Sleep Magic, Surrendering to Success.” 

Although her mother is still with us physically, the once-brilliant physician now suffers from Alzheimer’s. Here is Victoria’s tribute to a wonderfully strong woman.

I spent a couple of hours this past Sunday with my mother, a woman who was once a world famous physician and now has difficulty even comprehending simple sentences. We sat on the bench outside of the Alzheimers unit to which she has been confined, looking into a cloudless blue sky, warmed by sun, caressed by the gentlest of breezes as she told me, over and over again, of the joy she receives from just sitting and looking at nature, a joy that is far more rare now that she must be accompanied everywhere she goes.

I recalled a most rare afternoon in my early teens when she had piled five or six of us brothers and sisters into the old Rambler station wagon and driven to a small park on the outskirts of Philadelphia called Valley Green. There we ambled aimlessly along rock lined walks in heavy shade, picking up small rocks, playing in the shallow waters of the stream, dallying in nature.

My mother, even then, was a busy woman. We never saw much of her. Recently, asked to prepare her obituary for when it becomes necessary, I had the opportunity to review her curriculum vitae – an outstanding 30 pages detailing a body of work that would have been daunting to produce for a single person let alone this mother of 11 – and wondered how she’d ever had time for any of us. We’d been lucky to have that day with her…that one precious afternoon.

Now we can have all the afternoons we want but we cannot go far from the place she now recognizes as home. Now she is the mother I always wished for as a child, available, cuddly, wanting to hear my stories. As an adult, I miss her intelligence but the child in me loves her sweetness, her untroubled face, the pure love she now seems to exude as we snuggle side by side in the spring air taking in together what she called “that purple sky.”

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