Known for her cheery disposition and eternal optimism, even a double-punch couldn't bring her down. Three months after learning that she had both colon cancer and Alzheimer's, my mother, pictured here in colorful attire, let's loose on the dance floor at her nephew's wedding.
Ten years earlier, while still fully engaged in her busy professional life as a business owner and interior designer, she carved out time to pen a letter to her four children. We found it yesterday in a stack of family documents:
You have been the light, the way and the life for me in this wonderful visit to this earth. You can tell from my smile lines that I have had a hugely happy sojourn here. I owe this in great measure to you. I owe substantially to my sisters, as well. They have supported me strongly, never mind that they are my juniors.
You come from mighty good, strong stock on both sides, you were welcomed onto this earth with great delight by extended family and friends, and my wish for you is that you will continue this tradition within your own family and the extended families you cultivate and foster.
Stay together through all turbulence and celebrate together often. I'll be watching. Jerry, Bob and I are watching the late show, drinking coffee and smoking Marlboros.