One of the (very few) things I like about Facebook is that every once in a while photographs from the past will pop up and thereby invite memories. Yesterday, these pictures showed up on my feed to remind me that I had visited my parents in London at this time in 2018, and spent that lovely Spring day at their club.
We had had a few rainy days after my arrival, typical London-in-Spring days, and then awoke to this particular day of blue skies and unlimited sunshine. The manicured lawns and beautifully tended to flower beds seemed to sparkle in a way possible only on fine early Spring days. After brunch in the conservatory, and a glass or two of champagne, my mother and I took our customary perimeter walk, one length of which lies parallel to the Thames. We stopped often to admire this blossom and that bloom, and also to allow my ninety year old mother to rest. The Boat Race between Oxford and Cambridge, an annual Thames tradition, was a few days away; eights from both universities sliced their way down the river in practice, and we could hear the coxswains from both teams calling their instructions.
My mother basked in the sunshine, and took delight in all she saw. Macular degeneration had already dimmed one eye, and left the other weakened and damaged. But, her love and practice of gardening still allowed for the enjoyment of all the Spring blooms that seemed to have reserved their best day for that day. I cannot remember what we spoke about, but I distinctly recall the mood as we took our gentle walk: a quiet appreciation of being able to be together on that beautiful day.
In a few months, she would fall and break her hip; in less than a year she would lose her husband, the love of her life; and she already recognized what the rest of the family already knew – that she was slipping slowly into dementia.
It is good that cannot see into the future and know what calamities and heartaches lie ahead. And I am grateful today that we made the most of an April day but three years ago, a gift of a day.