(click on photo to enlarge. You'll see something special to the left! All of the photos were taken at Our Lady of Victory Basilica and National Shrine in Lackawanna, N.Y.)
It's four years ago today that my mother died.
She fought a courageous battle but, in the end, cancer won. Even during the last weeks of her life, my mother never complained. She said she wished she had just one more year to live but God wanted her home. Her earthly life came to an end as she began her new life in eternity.
It's heart-wrenching to lose a mother. She's the one person who has always been there for you, in good times and in bad. Even though my own mother clashed with me on a number of issues, I knew her love was unconditional. She always loved me, no matter what I did to annoy her. She was proud of my achievements and wept with me when the disappointments of life seared my heart.
When little, I couldn't even fathom life without my mother, thinking she would live forever. Doesn't every young child think her mother is immortal?
For many years, my mother and I lived far apart from each other. Her weekly cards and letters, often filled with newspaper clippings, never stopped coming. She was the most faithful correspondent a person could ever have, filling me in on all the family news and then some. Every holiday from Valentine's Day to Christmas, she sent cards to me as well as to my children. "Mummy," as I endearingly called her, loved sending greeting cards and she picked them out with care.
She was not from a generation of women who generously complimented so in my later years, when Mummy wrote that I had a "heart of gold," it brought tears to my eyes. She knew how much I loved her and wanted to make her last days on earth as happy as possible.
Mummy died surrounded by loved ones. We all sang as I played my guitar for several hours, until she took her last breath.
Four years have passed but the sorrow in my heart is as fresh as if Mummy died yesterday. She's a part of me still and always will be. When I look at white roses, her favorites, I can see her smiling face. I can still hear her singing and playing the song "All of Me" on the piano. Her bottomless faith, her dark brown eyes and little girl innocence, her ongoing prayers for anything and everyone, and endless love for her family, are all part of my memories of Mummy.
She's still here with me, safe in my heart, and always will be until, in the next life, I can run toward her and hug her once again.
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