As I was looking through my scrapbook, I came across a precious photo which unleashed a flood of memories. There you are Mom, sitting on our couch. Could that have been only two years ago? You have changed so much since then. How well I remember the beautiful summer day that I snapped this picture.
You and Dad were on your way to vacation in Cape May, New Jersey and you stopped by for a brief visit. As things turned out, the day was full of firsts and lasts - for both of us. It was the first time you saw our house in New Hope, and the last time you visited us. After forty-four years of marriage, it was your last road trip with Dad, and your last trip to Cape May where you and our family had vacationed together for 40 years.
The photograph showed your smile; the smile I remember seeing as a child when you happily greeted me as I arrived home from school. That summer was the last time I saw your smile. The hollow look from your face was apparent in the glassed over look in your eyes. You had no idea this picture was being taken. Of course at the time I took the picture, you did not know what a picture was anymore. You didn't even know anyone in the room - not even me, your daughter.
I look at the dress you were wearing in the photo and know which one it was. Dad had bought it for you a few months earlier for Nicole's wedding. The green leaves on the fabric of the jacket look so peaceful and the soft green hues in the dress gave your white skin a warm color. As pretty as the dress was, it did nothing to hide your weight loss. Your hair had just been washed and set by Millie that morning and its gray and white curls outlined your face, but the discouraging years and wrinkles have wiped away the beauty that was once yours.
The photo is of so much importance to me because of who shared the pose with you. You were holding him close in your arms and speaking softly as others in the room ignored you and talked about the house and its great fireplace. I so cherish this particular photo, for in your arms was your little grandson, my new son. You and he bonded immediately and he felt safe with you. The two of you were linked together at that moment, if only for this picture. It was the last time you were able to hold Justin.
Mom, I miss you so much. I know your body is still here, but your mind is gone. I'm so thankful for this photo. Your true inner beauty shines through just as it always did. Although you are suffering now, before long you will be rejoicing with our Heavenly Father. "Strength and honor are [your] clothing; and [you] shall rejoice in time to come." Proverbs 31:25 (KJV).