Today would have been my mother's 85th birthday.She died five years ago after a long struggle with Alzheimer's Disease. She spent some ten years in a nursing home, most of that time unable to walk or talk. We loved her during that period anyway. In some ways, we especially loved her while she was so sick.
This picture just below is of my parents when they were pretty close to my age now.
My mother was very devoted to her family. She was always there for us. She was a nurturer, a self-sacrificer. She wanted to have a large family but she had a congenital heart condition that caused her doctors to see many pregnancies as inadvisable. When she was born her parents were told that she would probably never live to be an adult. She was not allowed to run around, ride a bike, or dance. (She did all three secretly. In fact, she was a very good dancer.) Her parents must have been terrified.
Then at about the time of the photo below, Mom had an angiogram that revealed that her heart murmur was very small and should not have any impact on the functioning of her heart. While this was very good news, she did regret that she had not been able to have more children. (There were only three of us.)
My mother was very stylish. She loved shoes and she had very nice clothes. But she was completely unpretentious. She despised snobbishness. She was a genuine as can be.
Mom also loved children and always defended them. She like it if her house was a little messed up when her grandchildren left because that gave her "the pleasure of remembering they had been there." She actually said that. :-) Once when we were in a restaurant together a man near us was complaining and rolling his eyes about a baby nearby who was a little noisy and making a mess. My mother's eyes flashed (she was Irish). She was so annoyed with this man. She said "People forget that they were once little too."
My mother was voted "second cutest" and "best actress" in her high school class. Sadly, she never saw any of her grandchildren in plays. How she would have LOVED that. And she never saw John in a piano recital. (Although she heard him play. He played for her all the time in the nursing home. ) I'm hoping in heaven there is some way to rewind the life that an Alzheimer's patient has missed so she can see what she so would have enjoyed had she been able.
I'm going to visit her crypt today. I will take flowers to honor her birthday and pray for the repose of her soul. She certainly suffered a great deal on Earth. I pray she is in heaven.
My mother's name is Helen. As I drove the kids to school this morning we were listening to the radio. There was some little question and answer contest going on. I only realized that one of the contestant's names was Helen at the end when the DJ said. "And Helen is the victor!"
Helen is not a very common name and I don't listen to pop radio much. I pray it was no coincidence and that she is even now victorious and before the throne of Jesus.
Happy Birthday, Mom!