My mother, Margaret Ison, died in September 2011. If she had lived she would have been ninety-three years old today. She had a good life, enjoying the love of a devoted husband, four children, and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Her family was her greatest joy and she took pleasure in all their accomplishments.
The above photograph was taken when her granddaughter, Tamara, received her Masters in Social Work. Tamara's brother, Daniel, also earned his Masters that day and Mom made the trip out to Ohio for the big event. You can tell how happy and proud she was.
Mom lived well up until the last year of her life when her health steadily declined. I lived only twenty minutes from her and often took her to the doctor, got her medications, and checked in on her. One result is that my memories now are often of those last painful months. But recently I've had a strong impression that my mother isn't happy about my focusing on those difficult times. I think she wants me to remember her in her happier days, the years when she was enjoying life, not the few months when she was getting ready to leave it. Even so, I had sad feelings earlier today when I thought of my mom.
Tamara and my mother share the same birthday and today I sent Tamara an email wishing her a happy birthday. In reply she wrote that she was having a great day and was "Also thinking of Grandma today...lots of good, happy memories!" As I read this note I knew that was exactly how Mom wants it.
Happy Birthday, Mom. Thanks for all the great memories.