I felt like driving.
And I did, for hours.
I knew where I’d end up, at my hometown, at her gravesite.
It has been 36 years, but there are still tears. I guess there always will be.
There was much left unsaid between us, and I was her favorite, or at least that is what I was led to believe.
The picture shown was taken at Longwood Gardens on one of the last days I saw her alive.
Our family’s obsession with all things floral goes back a very long way. Longwood Gardens, a 1000 acre masterpiece in Kennett Square, PA, was a favorite destination. ***
I have black and white photos of one of my earliest visits there at age 2.
One year after I created this post, my 200th at the time, I found the image, and thought I’d share it here.
I have no real memory of that time, but I came to understand it was an idyllic age for our young family.
We would go often, in all seasons. It was a Sunday drive that wandered through nameless back roads that were so familiar.
Decades later, we were to return.
My mother was dying. Inoperable bladder cancer. I knew where I wanted to take her.
I was in from Michigan for one of many visits. This one felt different.
She was tired and weak, and didn’t like going out. I convinced her. We needed to go to Longwood, just the two of us.
I pushed her around the park that day in a wheelchair. She made me promise not to take any pictures of her. I complied. Sort of.
She rested on a bench in the conservatory, very near the spot in the black and white photo. I got as far away as I could, and took a shot. She never knew. It’s the last picture of her that I have. I will keep it respectfully private.
The water lily photo, that I framed after her death, is the same image on my WordPress banner.
It is special to me, and I am proud to share it here.
***Note: There are amazing color photos of Longwood Gardens, to be found here: