We fought a lot, my mother and I. We viewed life differently, and neither would give an inch. One last frustrating altercation left me swearing I'd never visit her again. That night something happened to her and she was never the same. Her failing memory seemed now to be gone.
In this photo she's in the hospital, a few months before her death. My sister and I would try to coach a little of our mother out of the oh so familiar shell. Finally, she smiled and for an instant she was back with us.
Precious memories aren't always of the happy and fun times. A smile in the saddest of times lingers in the memory long after the smiler herself has departed.
And I've come to treasure the memories of our fights. And value the truth in her words: "There's one thing about us, Stephanie. We can each say our piece and make up and still be friends." It was almost not true for her and me. And although the next months were horrendous as we lost more and more of her, I was grateful that I could be there as much as living in another country allowed. As the years go by, I catch a glimpse of her in the image that reflects back to me in the mirror and I smile at the memories of my precious mother.