Thursday, July 16, 2009

Memories and Mom

I have this childhood memory of mom coming to my school and my classmates telling me how pretty she was. I was so happy. Forty six years later I still remember that moment as if it had happened yesterday. Memories - to me that's what life is all about. I created scrapbook albums for my loved ones before it was popular. I think part of why this is so important to me is that I don't remember a lot of details from my childhood and didn't want that to happen any more. And so began my love affair with journaling and creating albums - anything to help me remember the moments in time that were making up the story of my life and as one of a kind gifts for my loved ones. Memories of the times spent with my daughters, my grandsons, friends, family, the jobs I've had and don't have any more, my accomplishments and yes, even the times of challenges, struggles and heartache. Every memory from my life has helped shaped who I am and are a part of me and each of those memories are precious to me.

It was a little over a year ago that mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and I have watched this disease rob mom of her memories and it's heartbreaking. Once a week I wash and style her hair. She is a woman that has always taken great pride in her appearance. She never walked out of the house without her makeup on or a single hair out of place. She has deep blue eyes, a smile that lights up the room, an infectious laugh and the most beautiful shade of gray hair I have even seen. I always ask her if she thinks I will be lucky enough to have the same shade of gray hair one day and she just smiles at me. In third grade I thought mom was pretty but today I see just how stunning she is.

This past Sunday I was talking with mom while she was eating her breakfast. I told her that I had brought her some cinnamon coffee cake from Starbucks (it's her favorite) and how it was full of cinnamon. She looked at me with puzzled and perplexed eyes and asked - "Do I like cinnamon". "Yes" I said and she asked "how come I don't remember that". And it was at that moment that I felt like someone had just kicked me in the gut wearing combat boots. It broke my heart!!!

Preserving memories has taken on a whole new meaning for me now. I still want to create a life full of memories not only for me but for everyone that I love and cherish but I also want to leave a legacy of memories of times spent with everyone that I love so that they have lives full of good memories too.

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