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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Traditions and Milestones - Precious Memories 6

The one year mark has officially passed and I made it through all of the firsts.

First holidays, first birthdays (hers and mine), first Mother’s Day. Funny how we started out in life, with her marking all of my milestones...... first tooth, first step, first word...

And it ends, with me marking hers. Her first year in Heaven, counted by my time, not hers. For her no time has passed at all.

There is a Jewish tradition, where visitors leave a small stone or pebble when they visit a loved one’s grave. It shows that the grave was recently visited, and the loved one has not been forgotten. Though I am not Jewish, I have borrowed their tradition somewhat.

This blog, these memories - and stories, are my “stones.” A way to keep my memories alive, and a place for me to find comfort. A way for me to make sure that she isn’t forgotten.

It’s just my way of saying, “I remember you and I miss you.” 

((The butterfly in the photo up above is significant too, but that’s another story for another day.))

It is my job now to carry on the traditions. If you've spent any time reading my Precious Memories posts, then you already know about our birthday tradition.

Before "black Friday" became an official thing, we had already started our yearly tradition. We didn't start at midnight or skip Thanksgiving, but we got up on the Friday after and hit our favorite stores. This was before the pushing and shoving, and massive long lines.

We hit up Bath & Body Works, Yankee Candle, and had lunch somewhere. On Saturday, it was junk food / movie day. This was back when you actually had to drive to the video store and pick out movies kept in hard plastic boxes. After we had gorged ourselves on food and entertainment, we'd put up the Christmas tree and decorate that night. We never took fancy vacations, cruises, or spent a lot of money.

We just made some precious memories that I could carry with me, when she was gone.

I have read that scents can be powerful and strongly linked to memories, both good and bad. I am a living and breathing example.

I will never smell her favorite Bath & Body Works scent without smelling my mom. She adored it and sadly, at some point they discontinued it. Every Christmas and birthday, that was her number one request. She REALLY loved her "signature scent."

Recently, I received an advertisement in the mail that Bath & Body Works was bringing back some retired scents for a limited time. They call them “flashback fragrances.”  Sure enough, hers was one of them. I knew it would take me back. I was so tempted to buy some, but too afraid of the wailing mess it could turn me into.

I was brave, and I bought some.  And I didn't fall apart.  It made me smile and brought me comfort.  She would have been thrilled to know the tradition was alive and well.

I have many good memories (and traditions) full of love and laughter, to cherish until the time we are all reunited in Heaven.  My mother left me a priceless gift.

To those of you who may just be starting this journey......there are many of us who have walked, are walking, or will eventually walk this thorny, sorrowful path, as Ann Gabhart has called it.

She also wrote about her mom's dementia over at her blog.

You can read more here:

 *The Precious Memories posts you read here, are dedicated to my mother, who lost her battle with Alzheimer's. I share snippets of our story in these posts, and some things I learned along the way.

Precious Memories Part 1 
Precious Memories Part 2
Precious Memories Part 3 
Precious Memories Part 4
Precious Memories Part 5

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