A couple of weeks ago I received a letter from my sweet grandma. Included in the envelope was this photo of my mom at the age of about seven. I had never seen this photo before, and I was so touched to have this little surprise come to me.
Since my mom's passing in October last year, my thoughts of her have been of someone suffering with cancer. Because she spent the final 19 months of her life fighting cancer, that's how I remember her in my most recent memory. Her battle was such a foreign thing for all of us to deal with. We were desperate for more time, hopeful for a cure, and in disbelief that someone as vibrant as our mother would have to endure what she did. When you live in fear and worry for that length of time, it kind of messes with your future thought process a bit. I think, anyway.
When this photo of my mom tumbled out of the envelope I was struck by the innocence of her as a little girl. She holds her lunch sack in one hand, and a homemade Easter basket made from a chocolate box in the other. Standing against the chicken coop that was actually their home at the time, she squints into the morning sun as my grandmother - whose shadow appears in the lower right corner - "makes her photograph" onto black and white film.
I called my grandmother to thank her for the sweet photo, and I loved the way her voice changed tone when she chuckled and said, "She was just the sweetest little thing." My grandma's tone struck a chord in me and got me thinking about my mom in a different light.
I love that this photo reminded me of a happier time. A time when cancer wasn't part of who my mom was. A time when in her youth and innocence, she didn't care that her Easter basket was made from a candy box, or that she lived in a chicken coop (although she did express embarrassment over their living arrangements in later years). She was, at that time, completely free of worry and pain. Her whole life was ahead of her, and she had no idea where that would lead or the people whose lives she would touch. She had her sack lunch and Easter basket, and my grandmother thought enough to take a photo to remember it by.
While my most recent memory of my mom is that she was sick, I feel so grateful to be reminded that she lived her life in health. She was sweet and happy and healthy all the way up to her cancer diagnosis. Please let me remember that, and focus on that part of my mom's life rather than the final act. Let me hold on to my grandmother's happy voice when she said, "She was just the sweetest little thing."
I see that in the photo, and I know it in my heart.
I miss you, Mom!
I'm linking up with my sweet friend Sian at From High in the Sky
for her once a month Storytelling Sunday.
PS: A very happy birthday to my sweet grandma who turns 93 on Saturday, August 10th. ♥