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My Mom is still hanging in there at the Hospice facility and making the nurses laugh with dry mouth jokes and funny faces. She has done better than expected over the last month, and that often happens when someone goes off chemotherapy and gets into Hospice. The break from the side effects of the chemo and the care that patients start to receive from nurses often gives them extra strength and extends their life by making them more comfortable.

I'm enjoying the fact that I can call her everyday and hear her voice, that I can still connect with her in a real way, but this place of waiting for the inevitable is so hard. Especially when I am so far away. There is no denying that this week her days seem to be getting harder, her pain is growing and she is starting to show symptoms of being closer to the end. There is nothing I can do but check in with her and the nurses and hope that she is as peaceful and comfortable as she can be.

With this time at home over the last two weeks I've been going through all the pictures that I have of my Mom and putting together a memorial video. My Aunt and Uncle scanned a bunch of images from the dozens of photo albums my parents have, I have taken hundreds of photos over the years, I scanned a few from an old album I had from when she was a teenager and my sister sent me a bunch of pictures too. I think I've made the best memorial video in the history of memorial videos (the Bon Jovi song "It's My Life" is in it at my Mom's request.) I'm exaggerating a little, but at the very least, it's a fitting tribute to her beautiful life. I will share it here on my site after we have shown it at the memorial service, but for now, I wanted to highlight a few of my favorite images of my Mom over the years.

1956 - Six years old. She looks so much like my son Milo!

1956 - Six years old. She looks so much like my son Milo!

1964 - Fourteen years old. With one of her many track and field trophies.

1964 - Fourteen years old. With one of her many track and field trophies.

1968 - A fantastic blonde beehive hairstyle at 18 years old.

1968 - A fantastic blonde beehive hairstyle at 18 years old.

1974 - 24 years old and newly married.

1974 - 24 years old and newly married.

1975 - My Mom as a new mother with me as a baby.

1975 - My Mom as a new mother with me as a baby.

1982 - My all time favorite picture of us.

1982 - My all time favorite picture of us.

1984 - Trip to Yellowstone.

1984 - Trip to Yellowstone.

2001 - My parents visited me in New York for the first time. Mom and I shared my bed. Sleep over!

2001 - My parents visited me in New York for the first time. Mom and I shared my bed. Sleep over!

2008 - Mom blowing bubbles for Milo.

2008 - Mom blowing bubbles for Milo.

2008 - Watching fighter jets fly by at a Jones Beach Airshow. So thrilling.

2008 - Watching fighter jets fly by at a Jones Beach Airshow. So thrilling.

2009 - Mom in her new kitchen surrounded by family.

2009 - Mom in her new kitchen surrounded by family.

2009 - Visiting us in New York. 

2009 - Visiting us in New York. 

2010 - Blowing a dandelion for Quinn.

2010 - Blowing a dandelion for Quinn.

2010 - Being cute with my Dad.

2010 - Being cute with my Dad.

2010 - One of my favorite recent pictures of Mom and I together because I am wearing her favorite color.

2010 - One of my favorite recent pictures of Mom and I together because I am wearing her favorite color.

These few pictures capture so many great moments. The picture of her with the bunny is how I love to think of her; in a denim skirt with tanned legs, no shoes and painted toenails, a white crocheted tank top and shawl, and purple feathers clipped in her hair. So stylish.

My Dad showed her the video yesterday and she cried the whole way through and said she loved it. I hoped by showing it to her we would make her more happy than sad and I think it did that. There are no secrets here and we aren't pretending that she isn't dying, so finishing this video and showing it to her is perhaps the best gift I could give her. There is no denying that my Mom is beautiful and had an amazing life filled with love.