On the shelf in my cubicle at work are two pictures that tell a story; one of happy times and love, but also one of hard times and struggles.
In one picture I stand between my parents on my graduation day in 1998. My mother is a vibrant 57 year old. She smiles for pictures and tells people how proud she is of her daughter. This is the mom who taught me to be strong and independent. Mom raised me to be someone who pursues her dreams. She believed in me and was proud of the fact that I could do anything I put my heart into. Mom instilled in me the belief that I could do anything, be anything. In reality I am who I am because of my mother.
What that picture doesn’t show and that we didn’t know at the time was that tangles in Mom’s brain were beginning to change her. Lewy had already taken hold at that time and had begun its insidious creeping, overtaking, destroying.
In the second picture Mom is surrounded by my sisters and me; the strong women she raised. This picture was taken in May 2007 and is the last picture of Mom before her death. In the almost ten years since the first picture she has become frail, a shadow of her former self. Lewy has stolen her ability to do the basic things in life. The family that she raised is now taking care of her. She showered us with love over the years and the family returns that love.
It’s been a year and a half since Mom passed away. I think of her often; especially now at Easter. Mom always tried to make holidays special for us. Easter was a time of colored eggs, ham, Easter bunny cakes. She decorated the house with bunnies and eggs. It was always a special day at our house.
This Easter we will gather at Dad’s house and there will be Mom’s decorations, ham, colored eggs; even an Easter bunny cake. The only thing missing will be Mom. Our holidays are bittersweet these days. They just aren’t quite the same and that makes me sad. Still, I can’t help but be happy for Mom. Lewy can no longer torture her. Once again she is strong, healthy, and vibrant. She is in heaven and is celebrating with our Risen Lord and for that I rejoice.