I invited about a dozen of her close friends to a party at the nursing home, and we had it catered by the Victorian Tea Room which had lovely salads and a fabulous coconut cake. The day before, we went out (the first time in a very long time for her) to a wig shop and got her a wig that looked just like her hair. You see, the morphine she'd been on had caused her straight, thick hair to thin out a great deal, and she -- always picky about how her hair looked -- wanted a wig while her hair grew back in. (and when it did come back, it came back wavy! Go figure)
The luncheon was perfect. Three kinds of salads, fresh muffins, tea, lots of balloons and flowers, and a fresh coconut cake topped with real pansies. She glowed. I did too.
I was there for a few more birthdays, but that was the best, I think. On her 84th birthday, in 2005, her brother Tom also came, I think, and we celebrated quietly, talking and reminiscing -- they talked, I listened. That was her last one. She was sliding then toward forever...
Because of her, I am a strong, assertive woman. Because of her, I had the courage to follow my beliefs and my gut, and work towards what I wanted. Because of her, I am persistent and only a little stubborn (shut up) and I have a strong moral compass that doesn't tolerate lies and deception, but encourages truth and kindness and compassion and responsibility.
Thank you for that legacy, Mama. Thank you for those gifts. Thank you for your voice still in my head and my heart telling me you love me and that you're proud of me. Thank you for your calming presence when I get wrapped around the axle. I love you. I was so proud to call you my mother, and my friend.