Whenever I think of Mom, I always picture her in her oversized straw hat.
I see her out in the garden, pruning, weeding, talking to her beloved plants and feeding the birds.
This is the image I will always have of her.
My mom had a super green thumb.
Every corner in her garden brimmed with colour and life.
A devoted gardener, she spent many happy hours pottering around her garden before she became lost in the fog of her own mind when dementia got her.
With Mom's deteriorating condition and my dad's lack of interest in gardening, the flowers slowly languished one by one and her once beautiful garden became no more than a neat, simple yard.
Some days, in moments when she is lucid, Mom almost always asks me where all her flowers have gone.
I distract her and she forgets her question.
In March 2020, our government imposed an interstate travel ban in response to Covid-19 and I couldn't visit my elderly parents for several months.
Imagine my surprise when we were greeted by a dazzling burst of purple from Mom's garden as we were approaching the house on our first visit home since the lockdown.
Dad has no idea who planted the flowers in their garden and we concur that the Garlic Vine grew from seeds that were dispersed by Mother Nature and most probably birds.
Most days, Mom sits in her favourite spot by the window and stares blankly at the Garlic Vine.
Some days, she notices the beauteous violet blooms and repeatedly exclaims in pure joy how pretty they are.
And I can tell by the look in her eyes that she is once again in her beautiful garden, tending to the flowers and enjoying the company of the visiting birds and other wildlife.
I'd like to believe that the Garlic Vine is a gift from the birds for Mom.
The Garlic Vine is so named because when parts of this plant are crushed, they emit the fresh smell of garlic!