There was a moment on Sunday afternoon when I was missing my mom so much I could hardly breathe. I was lying on the sofa flipping through pictures and videos of her on my phone and there was a clip, a year or so before she died, where she was trying to get Harrison to smile. Her voice was shot and her breathing was labored and after a few seconds I lost it.
For the next little while I laid there trying to remember my mom before she got sick. I must have a million memories of her healthy but on Sunday I couldn't think of a single one, and it broke my heart. After dwelling on that for some time I decided to do something about it. I picked my phone back up, clicked on her folder again and scrolled through the hundreds of photos I'd saved of her before ALS. I starred a handful of my favorites to print and of those five I agonized over which one I would get blown up for the living room. In the end I decided on a photo of her blowing bubbles at my sister and brother-in-law as they left the church on their wedding day because she looks gorgeous in it and it's so completely her, my mom.
I sent the files off to be printed and later that evening while he was out running errands Bevan offered to pick them up. On his way home he sent me a text message that let me know I had made the right choice.
I told Kari about the pictures over FaceTime tonight and her response was, "I love that because that's exactly what your mom would have done."
It's true, she would have.
Now when I make my way around the house I see my mom everywhere, standing outside a bakery in the Mission District, snapping a picture of a sunset in Italy, posing with my dad and I on a summer evening near a park in our hometown, and in every photo she's herself, happy and healthy and smiling, which is how, from now on, I will choose to remember her.