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Sunday, November 8, 2009

Remembering My Mom

This is a sad day for me. It was 3 years ago today that my mother died at age 80. She had Alzheimer's, but it appears that it was shingles that also attacked her brain and caused her death. She was in a drug-induced coma the last week of her life. We all knew that her passing was a blessing, but it certainly didn't feel like it then, nor does it now. My father slept on a chair in her hospital room, refusing to leave her except to go home to shower and change clothes. My brother flew in from Alaska, and as the end drew near, his wife and kids also joined us.

Julia, who had already suffered so much loss in her short life, either stayed in the waiting area or was entertained by family friends who took her to the movies or shopping to help pass the time. As it became obvious there was nothing more the doctors could do for my mother, I asked Julia to write a letter to Grandma. She wrote a very touching letter, thanking Grandma for welcoming her into the family and for being her Grandma. Although we didn't know whether Mom could hear what was going on around her or not, we pulled the curtain around her bed and Julia entered the room to read her letter to her Grandma. It was extremely touching, especially knowing how close Julia had been to her Russian grandmother. Julia's letter, along with letters and drawings from each of her cousins, was put into the casket and buried with my mother. My father also included a special memento for his wife of more than 60 years.

I wasn't particularly close to my mother, but that doesn't matter. Losing a mother is never easy. My Mom was a kind, good-hearted woman who seldom spoke ill of anyone. She was active in her church for close to 50 years, and she was a long-time member of the church women's group.

I think I was a disappointment to her, and I know that I hurt her sometimes. She opposed my decision to adopt Julia, but she welcomed Julia into the family with no apparent regrets. Julia loved her Grandma, and although she didn't show it, I'm sure losing her hit her hard.

So on this sad anniversary, I offer a prayer of thanks for my Mom, and remember her with sadness and love.