7.24.2003

My cousin Deanna (my Aunt Pat's granddaughter) emailed me letting me know how she was. Aunt Pat recently had a stroke, losing her speech, etc. She's in a nursing home, but the doctors are giving optomistic prognoses. She has started speaking again, but has serious memory problems.

I'm glad to know the doctors are being so positive for Aunt Pat. I know that time marches on, but it's so hard to think of her this way. She will always be in my memory as this fun, strong woman...

My Mom is doing well. She, too, has her moments with memory, but overall isn't too bad. For her, it's mostly missing my Dad. I always knew they loved each other a lot, but when he passed away, I found out a whole other level to that love on a more personal level. I have been the one that hangs out with Mom the most, and take her places. It's been a special time for me to get to know my Mom more as a woman and a peer rather than just 'Mom'!

She met Dad at age 16 and he was 19. He was her first and only love. It hit her very, very hard when he died. She's still mourning. She's gotten better, less crying jags, but she still gets very sad when she hears a train whistle. My Dad was always such a positive force in our family, teasing Mom and keeping things light. Mom had her moments, too, becoming a bit sentimental despite her tough exterior when she was around certain people.

Mom and Aunt Pat have always been very close. They get cranky with each other sometimes, but really, I have always known they loved one another a lot, and had been there for each other many times over the years. Currently, Mom has been cranky because Aunt Pat wouldn't come visit because of her dogs!! I just smile and let her talk; she says, "I could drive her to the bar every day!" Yeah, right! She hasn't driven in 2 years!! It makes me sad knowing that she dreams of doing just everyday things but can't. I try to dwell on the positive, but the knowledge that she's slowly drifting away from me makes the time I spend with her bittersweet. It also makes it more precious. Mortality brings (or should bring) perspective...