Best. Birthday. Ever.

Last year in 2016, I did something I’ve rarely done since my 16th birthday: I celebrated my birthday.

At my sister’s home in Los Angeles, four of us sat having dinner: my sister, her husband, my mom, and me.

Last year I’d spent some unexpected time in L.A. to help my family. My sister had an unexpected surgery and my mom’s health had gotten dramatically worse in 2016.

My mom had a long list of health issues, including heart trouble. But I was most concerned about a steep decline in her cognitive skills including not being able to remember things.

And emotionally she was in a very negative place. No surprise, she had lost too much weight. She was a walking skeleton compared to her old weight. And though the weight loss had started as a symptom, now her weight loss had become an actual problem.

With all of this happening, I wouldn’t have predicted that my birthday dinner would be the best ever.

During dinner, her appetite returned. Instead of the frail, emotionally volatile creature who had been there, that night she was our mom once again, laughing and talking as she once did. For one night, she’d reversed her cognitive and emotional decline.

For one glorious dinner, I could talk with my mom. And yes, I had some tears of joy flowing during that dinner.

Within a few weeks of that dinner, she died. But I’m thankful to have had that dinner with her. Best. Birthday. Ever.

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