This morning my brothers, some very dear friends and family members and I went to the top of a cold, windy hill and laid my mother to rest next to her brother.
We've lost both of our parents, seven months apart. We're officially orphans, I guess.
But there has never, in my memory, been an event involving my mother that didn't include some laughter, so when we got to the gravesite and turned to look down the hill, we spotted it: A BIG yellow smiley face graffiti'd onto a big tree a just few feet below the foot of her grave.
I'm tempted to think she did it herself to lighten things up a little. That's the kind of sweet kook she was.
The problem with dementia is that death only makes obvious the separation that has been in place for years already. The sweet, funny, confused person at my dinner table for the last couple of years was not my Mom, not really. I've missed my mom BEING my mom for almost six years now: That's how long I've been HER mom. But I miss that confused little old lady too, a little, since she was all I had left.
My brother did an absolute amazing job of capturing her life in this video, set to his own music: