These images were all taken by Bambi Cantrell, during a portrait sitting with Mom and Dad at and around their home in Sarasota. It was 2008 and we were in the early stages of Alzheimer's. For the next five years Mom would never lose her ability to be a lady and always a class act. So many of you forget the value of your images to your subjects. These are some of our family's most favorite images of Mom and Dad.
My mother and I wasted a lot of time over the years not getting along as well as I wish we had, but I look at the last three years we had with her and I'm so grateful we made the move to Sarasota. There were moments of brilliance, when the Alzheimer's would take time off, and Mom's personality would come shining through.
Before and even during Alzheimer's, if there was one thing Mom always prided herself on, it was being a lady. She always wanted to look nice; was never without her earrings and always had a polite quality in the tone of her voice and anything she spoke about. In fact, over the years, no matter how angry she was about something, she'd never swear. There were no "bad" words in her vocabulary except pasta e fagioli, usually pronounced "Pasta fazool". She was convinced it was swearing in Italian. I was probably about thirty when I pulled out a recipe to show her the expression meant soup! It made no difference, these were her words and they applied to everything that didn't go as planned.
I remember walking into her hospice room the morning before she passed away and saying, "Gee, you look great today!" Her answer was simply, "Why shouldn't I?" Always a lady. In fact, that morning, Molly the Wonder Dog and I just sat by the side of her bed and here and there she'd talk about something and then disappear.
She'd always been afraid of dogs, but Molly somehow had therapeutic value and was a member of her family. She used to look at Molly and say, "What a beautiful Jewish dog!" The comment still makes me laugh. It was a very special morning. The family hadn't arrived and it was just me, Molly and Mom. I got the time to say all the things I wanted and know Mom heard them all.
So, on this Mother's Day in 2015 I wish all of you Moms out there nothing but the most wonderful day. I wish moment after moment of joy and love with your family and friends and most of all, time to simply appreciate everything you've done with and for your family. You're making the world a better place, one family at a time.
And to my own Mom, who I know is watching over us. I like to think you're hanging out today with Don and Donna Blair, Monte Zucker, Mike Bowen, Chuck Gutierrez, Arnold Crane, Bengt Forssbaeck and Dean Collins - Don't believe a single story they tell you!
Mom, I miss your smile, the twinkle you'd get when Dad came into the room, your laugh and so many wonderful moments and memories. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't miss you, but cherish all the times we had together.
"Mother's hold their children's hands for awhile, but their hearts forever."