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Lilacs


Strokewife

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The Syringa Vulgaris plant interestingly is a flowering shrub of the olive family. It is native to the Balkan Peninsula. This decadent ornamental bush is widely grown in many European regions as well as North America. In ancient Greek mythology the story is told that Pan, the god of forests and fields was hopelessly in love with a nymph named Syringa.  Legend is she being afraid of his advances disguised herself by turning into the aromatic shrub.  He never found her yet he found the bush. Noting the shrub had hollow reed like branches Pan created a pipe from those limbs. The scientific name Syringa Vulgaris is derived from the Greek word “syrinks” which means pipe. This flowering shrub used to make the mythological god’s panpipe is commonly known as Lilac.

 

As she stood and inhaled the night sky illuminated by the spring equinox moon she reminisced of her home. It was the spring season when the lilac bushes permeated the air.  Not only are the shrubs beautiful in their hue of white, pink, and purple but their sweet aromatic scent embraces anyone who inhales.  It had been many years since she journeyed to her homeland in the central region of Illinois.  Both her stroke survivor and she grew up in the prairie land commonly known as the black belt because of rich fertilized soil.  Their journey to the state of Texas happened in pursuit of a dream.  While the predominant one season of summer was welcome by them with living in Texas it was much different than where they grew up with the four seasons in Illinois. Specifically, the blossoming of lilacs didn’t happen in Texas. So on that night when the brightness of the moon hugged her being to announce the arrival of spring tears rolled down her cheek. More so she imagined the perfumed aroma of lilacs back home while intentionally pondering days of old and longing to travel.

 

More often than not her stroke survivor talks about those days of his youth.  He speaks about the time as a teenager when he was a speed skating champion, or his high school years when he was captain of the drum line. He reflects back to the nights he worked as a disc jockey at the local dance club. Those days of winning foosball champions and playing a drinking game called quarters for alcoholic beverages are all among the stories he frequently tells. His college days where he excelled in computer science,  receiving honors as top of the class, he reminisces.  The days of old are a dominating force in her stroke survivor’s mind where he currently dwells most of his days. Simply, if you ask him about today like what movie did he watch, what the television show is about, or to count to ten he cannot always do that task. Often with the speech therapist when being challenged in word association games he will avoid doing the assignment by telling stories of his younger years. There are days that are on point. Some days she feels like he could just get up, grab his car keys and go to work as if nothing were wrong. That image dissipates quickly and she is reminded of his deficiency while watching him struggle putting a spoon to his mouth when eating. And too, he will repeatedly ask to see his yearbook, play a movie that is decades old and he has seen a hundred times, or tell her a story over and over like it was the first time.

 

She didn’t know how many there are like her husband that are propelled to a different plateau with their stroke where the mind has short circuited because of seizures. The cognitive defect that engulfs her husband’s brain creates confusion so he goes back to that which he remembers very well. She is sure there are fancy medical names for this short-term memory malfunction but she cannot name them. Somehow, with his memory loss her stroke survivor still seems content. 

 

So as she breathes in the night air of spring she thinks about those lilacs back home.  Maybe her stroke survivor’s short-term memory is like Syringa from the mythological story and has hidden itself within the aromatic bush. Perhaps Pan is long-term memory and the reed pipe he made plays a continual recognizable tune that comforts her stroke survivor. None-the-less, when she spoke to him about missing the scent of lilacs back home he too commented about them but told the story of dreading having to trim back the lilac bushes at his childhood home thus his memory wasn’t as pleasant. However, it was that moment she realized they had a typical conversation. There was no speech deficiency or failure to recall. And while it was a long- term memory for them both it was a moment that reflecting about the lilacs back home addressed her longing to travel. With that she once again pondered days of old. Softly she reached up and wiped the tears of joy from her cheek.
 

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I love your writing, have you thought about writing novel, you express your thoughts so eloquently. I am glad you had good conversation about liliac with your husband. I admire all of you caregivers in our life, thanks to you guys we survivors have somewhat normalcy in our life.

 

Asha

 

 

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Simply beautiful. I agree with Asha....you have a rare talent for making words dance and tell a story. I know I would want to read more! 🙂 Thank you.

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