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Dear Mom,

Happy Birthday! I trust there were lots of laughs and plenty of cake in Heaven as it must have been a celebration unlike anything we could have pulled off here. Your parents, Aunt Shirley, Aunt Helen and Uncle George, and so many others who love you.

We celebrated you by doing things you would have enjoyed this weekend, but I guess you already know that. If I’m not mistaken, I looked up on Saturday and saw you smiling down on us. It was likely the most beautiful weekend of October, two gorgeous days strung together. Nothing but sunshine and blue skies. Another tribute to your beautiful life, no doubt.

You are missed by so many people, and I heard from a few of your favorites today. It was nice to know so many friends were thinking of you – and us – all weekend. It just underscores the impact you had on so many lives, and my heart sings to know your legacy lives on.

It helps to think of you as you are today; whole, healthy, laughing, talking, and free of the torment Alzheimer’s often brought you. But, I’ll be very honest – I’m pissed. Furious that this disease took you much, much too soon. Today you would have been 78, and before AD stormed into our lives I would have imagined us traveling and enjoying life – you still in great health at this age. Damn Alzheimer’s for turning my plan – and our world – upside down.

That faceThe fact is, it would be so easy to sit and cry every single day about what we’ve all lost and how unfair it is. Although the excruciating, knife-through-the-heart pain of those initial weeks and months following your death has faded, I think I miss you now more than ever. So many life changes and countless moments where I’ve thought, “I wish I could talk to mom.”

Gone too soon, in more ways than one.

Each day, I try to live in a way that honors your life and makes you proud… I hope you know that despite your physical absence, you are still the guiding light in my life. Tonight, I lit your candle, and just as its flame stands tall and bright, so does your beautiful memory, unwavering strength, and enduring love.

With all my love,

Ann  💜