Three years ago today, on the Jewish calendar, my mother in law died. It was just a couple of days after Thanksgiving, her birthday. She was 91.
This photograph was taken on Mother's Day at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. This photo was taken before both the first and the second appearance of colon cancer, but after both breast cancers and the massive uterine tumor. Dementia was just beginning to make itself known, but was in an early, unclear phase. You could still think that my mother in law's quirky nature was causing the odd lapses.
For all of my mother in law's medical ills, she lived her life with gusto until six weeks before her death. She wanted to live, despite the pain, despite the confusion and humiliation caused by the dementia. She wanted to live until the moment she decided to die.
Even in the foggiest of the dementia, there were some things that remained certain in her mind. My mother in law knew that the recieved the highest grade in the city on the guidance counselor exam. She no longer knew our names, or exactly how we were related to her, but she knew that she loved us very much.
Sh' t'hey zichrah barukh - May her memory be a blessing.