If Dogs Could Purr
When I miss my mom, I think of the random, yet so poignant, things she used to say. It's been eight months now since she went to heaven, and I'm just now finding myself able to think of her without choking back tears. The tears are still there, no doubt, but more often now I actually find myself smiling when I think of her. Sometimes even laughing, that giggle-cry thing you do when you're sad and happy at the same time.
That didn't start to happen though until I really started remembering her as my Mom. It wasn't that she wasn't a wonderful mother and I didn't see her as such, because she was the best mom anyone could have dreamed of. But while she was going through the awful journey of Alzheimer's, her 'mom' role was on hiatus. I kind of shelved it and set that part of her aside.
It was a more than ten-year journey, one that started slowly and picked up with rampant unforgiving speed in the last few years. And with each new phase of the disease, each time she was stripped of another function or ability, my sisters and I lost another piece of our mom as we knew her. I had a new relationship with her now, and that's where my focus had to be. And that's where it remained, for years.
So when my mom passed away last October, that is the relationship I grieved. The disease was gone and it was over, but I was still consumed by it. I was consumed with sadness, thinking about what she went through all those years, and all of the things that she couldn't be a part of. I was still so connected to that new relationship I had with her.
Until one afternoon with my dogs. I was sitting with them, watching them watching me, and I wondered what they were thinking. And then suddenly I heard my mom's voice in my head, exactly as she had uttered the words six years ago: "Don't you wish dogs could purr?"
And there it was, my mom's whimsical yet intuitive ponderings that were always so accurate to me. It was the silly things like that that we would first giggle about, and then get wrapped up in a long semi-serious conversation over. She was so curious and insightful, and she had the best sayings and words of wisdom. And they were all coming back to me. SHE was coming back. My mom. My mommy. The most important person in my whole life.
I was starting to forget more about the last few years where life was a struggle, and starting to remember more of the previous 42 years that were awesomely full of life, fun, and wisdom. My mom was so much more than just those last years. She was wonderful in every way, and that's what I'm going to remember.
Though I know I will miss her forever, and the tears are starting to flow as I write this. But there's a little smile trying to make its way through too, and I'm gonna let it out.
For you Mom, I'm smiling for you.
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