Patricia DeVilliers, My Mother (and Alzheimer’s)

Eyes shining, she chose to emerge
From boundaries that confine
So she could stretch her wings
Give music to the muted cries
Sounding aloud to the horizon
She chose to reveal her joy
To escape the sorrows
To be present in the exquisite little moments
She was admired, was able to render
The details significant
A shift in paradigm
From shadow to light

And then, the terror,
Repeating, forgetting,
Trying to carve out the time
But the details, so clear before
Now obscure, a source of distress,
To mystify the mind
The playing field no longer fair
Given over to wild abandon
No longer in fine fettle, sustaining.
What brook? Which figure?
There was a gorge?
I feel the pain crush my hear as she forgets
Bound only to retreat
Into the tunnel of her mind
The deepest organ pipe, the deepest music
No longer scoring, no longer
The vibrant, beautiful woman she was,
But still my mother.

Patricia DeVilliers arrived with her husband, Charl, in the US in 2000 from Cape Town, South Africa, where she taught English, French, and Afrikaans. With her passion for languages and bilingual education, she began teaching English at Dallas International School that same year and has been there ever since. She has just been awarded the Palmes Academiques for her contribution to French Language and Culture.

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