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A Gift of Joy


My mother kept a diary her whole life.  In the last couple of years her entries in her diary would only be a few lines, but what wonderful lines! Like “A beautiful day,” or “Missy took me to McDonald’s, had so much fun.” Her last entry in her diary was in February, a couple of days before she fell. It said, “Bad day, confused, but Missy and I had cinnamon toast and giggled.” I told Mike it made me sad to read it, he told me I shouldn’t be sad and to read her other entries. I went back and started reading her diary…Oh, I’m so glad I did. My mother loved me so much. She loved living with Mike and I. Almost every one of her diary posts mentions me, and how she loves me, or how much fun we had. How she wishes I didn’t have MS, or that she is not afraid of her Alzheimer’s because she has me and Mike to care for her. She talks about not being afraid anymore; that I will take care of her. So many times she writes that she wishes she could do something for me; a surprise, grant me a wish. Always wanting my JOY to come back, her old Missy, her sunshine.

My mother left me all kinds of little notes for after she died, and a couple of letters, but nothing, nothing was as wonderful as her diary. Oh, how I was loved. One entry was, “I love hugs, but no hug is better than my Missy hugs. She hugs me like she will never let me go, and some days I need that feeling, that she will never let me go.” That entry hit me the hardest because a couple of weeks before mom died she wanted me to hug her in her hospital bed, and when I sat her up she whispered, “Hug me, Missy. Never, never let me go.”  I always knew it, but reading her little wobbly writings, her handwritten statements of love to me, gave me my JOY back. Thank you, Mommy. Yes, every day I will miss you…more probably, then less as time goes by. And yes, everyday I will want you to be the first person I tell something to….but as you told me, its time to get on with it. You did finally get to give me that surprise you wanted to so badly, and I found it in your diary writings: My Joy. So, on to celebrate your life. Oh, how I miss your giggle, your eyes beaming when I walk into your room and you say, “Hi, sweetie,” or “Hi, Missy,” or “Hello, Sunshine.” Yes, on to celebrate our life….your’s and mine

Went to the cemetery today. Its been a month since mom died. The cemetary where mom is buried is about 65 miles from here. It is an old family cemetary out in the country. I just wanted to see how things looked and plan my parents garden around the headstones. I met with a local landscape man who I know thinks I’m crazy…but I liked him anyway and he understood exactly what I wanted and drew a great picture of my dreams of what it will eventually grow to be. My dad’s parents are buried next to my parents so I am going to try and incorporate the garden around all of them, but still make it easy for the man who mows the cemetery to not have trouble maneuvering around it and the bird feeders that I want there.

Mom is happy there. I took her a fresh bouquet of sunflowers and my dad some birdseed for the birds. I didn’t cry ’til I was driving out of the cemetary, and realized that she is really, really, gone…not coming back. No more sad stories, only happy ones now. Then I started singing, “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine,” but left out the part, “Don’t take my sunshine away.”

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