Look what I saw on my morning walk! Photographed in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn.
Snippet Sunday is a monthly meme organized by Stephanie Dray in which historical authors post six sentence snippets of their novels. For the sake of organization, I’ve decided to post mine on the first Sunday of the month. You can read my previous snippets here.
On a late winter afternoon when the trees are bare and the sun golden, the twisty, hilly road bisecting Highgate Cemetery seemed a picturesque secret. As the road climbed toward the highest point in all of London, the burial ground was surrounded on both sides by ivy-covered walls and old growth trees. Perched within them I spied bird nests, optimistic for spring, and a scattering of buds upon green branches. Mama and I had never visited Highgate before; we’d chosen the less lofty Brompton Cemetery for Papa. If I didn’t know where I was, I’d believe I’d happened onto some part of Hampstead Heath that never made it into a Baedeker’s. This made what was about to occur seem all the more sinister.
The above photograph was taken by me during my visit to Highgate Cemetery to visit Elizabeth Siddal’s grave in 2010.
Photographed in my kitchen. With this wildly snowy winter, sometimes you have to gather ye daffodils while ye may.
Even in times of sorrow, there are signs of spring.
Exhibit A: Snow drops photographed in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn.
Alas, the snow drops were destined to be covered in snow.
Exhibit B: Photographed two days later.
Photographed from the Manhattan Bridge en route to Brooklyn.
From my silence on this blog, a casual reader might wonder if something happened on my end. And it had: my mother recently passed away. While her death wasn’t unexpected—Mom had been in a hospice with Alzheimer’s for the past two years—it’s still a shock.
Alzheimer’s is an awful, tragic disease. It robs the afflicted of their reason and memory, taking their mind long before the body follows in a cruel coup de grace. At the time of her death, my mother had been ill for so long that it’s hard to remember who she was before the disease took hold. In retrospect, I believe she had Alzheimer’s for a good five years before she was officially diagnosed—perhaps even longer.
As the disease progressed, I know my mother suffered horribly. She experienced bodily discomfort as well as depression and disorientation. Those of us who loved her suffered. There was so little we could do beyond making her as comfortable as we could. My sister and I were fortunate that we were able to obtain excellent care for her in her last years. The people who work in hospices are saints.
Now that my mother is gone, I am left sitting with the memories she lost in this world.