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Saturday, February 5, 2011

Snapshots

I've been looking through photo albums lately. Everything I read about Alzheimers says it is good for them to have pictures to look through. All smiley and silly faces, except for the roll of film in which I seemed determined to take pictures of everyone putting bites of food into their mouths. No matter what is going on, we all paste on smiles when the camera starts clicking. So where are the moments that are real? Nobody wants to remember the times when tears are streaming down their faces, or when they are so angry that huge veins pulse on their foreheads. Those are the private times, the personal moments that stretch us until it is almost more than we can bear. But bear it we do and we grow and we smile for more pictures.

This afternoon, we had a full family picture made-Mom, Dad, the three sisters, their husbands, children and the in-laws, well, not my in-laws,and the adorable great-grandbaby. It was arranged by my oldest sister and I am really glad we went. But I can't tell you how much I did not want to go. When she first suggested it, I argued with everything I could think of for reasons why this wasn't a good idea. I'm still not sure of the source of my resistence. I think maybe I didn't want to dress up and put a big smile on my face right now. Most of the time, I want to yell and cry, either that, or I pretend it isn't there and concentrate on everything else.

But this afternoon, as I was driving to the studio with my family, I thought about that this might be the last family picture we have with Mom in it.  I keep meaning to take pictures everytime I am with her but I know she doesn't like to have pictures when she doesn't look good and so often she looks tired now. God came through tonight in that even the baby (who has a cold and probably feels crummy) smiled and laughed and we have some wonderful pictures. Unfortuneately, my husband and my middle sister's husband didn't come out too well in the pictures. But we had a great time laughing about it (with them, not at them, of course).

Although, I hope to not be struck with either of the terrible diseases that have struck my parents, if I do get  Alzheimers, these may be some of the pictures my kids will pull out of the photo album or off the wall to hang in my room. I like the idea that they only have to look at their parents and family smiling. I think they may have plenty of stretching moments in the months to come but maybe they will see the pictures from today and remember their cousins, grandmother, and aunts laughing, in spite of it all, we laugh. And they will remember that whatever is going on in their lives they can laugh too.

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