On September 15, 2016 my mom would have turned 87 years old. Except she will be celebrating her third birthday in Heaven. I imagine that birthdays in Heaven are pretty cool and that birthday cake has no calories there. As irony would have it, I’ve been asked to be the Master of Ceremonies and tell my mom’s story at an Alzheimer’s Garden Party event that night at my sweet friend Paige’s home for about 150 guests. {welp}

I love to talk about my mom, which is also ironic because mom would never have wanted to talk about herself. Her focus was always about everyone else. I’ve talked about her publicly before, but never in front of an audience this large and never on her birthday. Each year on her birthday I buy myself flowers; flowers that I know she would love and I sit and admire them and think about this amazing woman. Fitting that this year on her birthday there will be an entire garden party and flowers.

Just a few weeks ago I spent some time with her younger sister, who is now 84. My heart just leaps when I see my dear Aunt Annie. She looks like mom, she talks like mom, she feels like mom. She is in amazing health right now and her eyes shine and her smile is contagious; just like mom. However, on the way back to our hotel I could not stop crying. I was angry! I was angry that this disease had to take my mom from me; and even angrier that this disease had to take her from my kids! As wonderful as it is to see Aunt Annie, and goodness knows if I could see her every few days I certainly would, it opens up the wounds of what we have all lost because of Alzheimer’s.

I miss my mom…

So in just a few weeks I get to talk….about mom. I get to talk about how our journey with mom through Alzheimer’s brought me to this place. This place of walking along other daughters and sons who are slowly, painfully anguishing over the loss of their mom or dad. Sometimes I just hold their hand or rub their back, give a hug or even pray. And sometimes I cry with them because I simply do not know how else to do this but to feel what they feel and remember.

And sometimes I buy flowers…