One of the things I love about scrapbooking is the way it can become a form of personal expression. While I am not big into “scrap therapy”, I realize that my layouts can be a safe place to record thoughts and emotions as well as stories. That’s what happened today as I started working on my layout for LOAD.
First off, Summer Driggs offered a new free digital scrapbooking kit on her blog called “Angel Mother.” She shared a little bit about her own mother who passed away three years ago and who inspired the new digi kit. The kit was beautiful and Summer’s words touched me. I downloaded the kit right then and there and knew that I wanted to do a layout about my own mother with it. This is it:
“Mom”, 12 x 12 Digital Layout by Noreen Smith. Storybook Creator Plus Software from CM. All papers and elements from Angel Mother Kit by Summer Driggs.
It was a hard, emotional layout to do. I struggled with which photos to use and with sharing my thoughts and feelings in the journaling. It brought up a lot of emotions that I have kept under wraps for most of this last year.
One year ago on Mother’s Day, mom got out of her house, became disoriented and had a bad fall. One week later she was admitted to the hospital, never to come home again. She was placed in a wonderful care facility, but has been steadily declining ever since. She is now a fragile shell of the woman she once was. On good days she recognizes me and she is usually happy to see my boys. She doesn’t really know who Sam is, because he was born after her Alzheimers disease really set in, but she just enjoys seeing a baby. When we visit mom I am somewhat guarded, because I feel like if I let my true emotions show, the floodgates would open and there would be no closing them. It’s easier on my heart to cover up with laughter and jokes. Alzheimer’s is such a strange and cruel disease because the person you know and love is still there, yet not there. And when I sat down today and really thought about what I lost, my heart ached.
This Mother’s Day will be the first “without” mom, and I am very sad. But we will celebrate it anyway, even though she has no idea what will be happening. We will bring flowers to brighten her day and hopefully she will be able to feel our love without having to understand it.
In the end on my layout I chose to use a couple of photos of mom from the past few years…photos which show her bright smile and sunny disposition along with the last really good photo of her and I that was taken just a year and half ago which I love and cherish. The journaling I struggled with finally reads:
“It’s hard to think or write about it. This Mother’s Day I celebrate that you are still with us, but mourn the loss of the mom I knew and loved. Alzheimer’s disease has robbed you of your memory and many normal functions, and it has taken you away from us in spirit. There are still glimpses of the woman you were, but they are fewer and further between. It’s hard to see you like that, so in some ways I prefer to remember you as you were – full of life, love and laughter. You taught me so much about being a great mom…I hope I can live up to your example. And I wish I could share it all with you. I love you always. Noreen”
I love that I was able to celebrate who my mom was in this layout. Celebrate and cherish your mom this coming Sunday, and blessings to all my friends who are moms themselves.