Yesterday was a bittersweet day. Sweet because it was my niece, Raelynn's baptism day. Bitter because our family wasn't whole.
Baptisms are special events in our families and our religious culture. As a family, we are always there for each other for these important life events. Of my parent's 12 grandchildren, 6 have been baptized; Raelynn was grandchild #7. She is also the first grandchild baptism that my mom has not attended. The last two were baptized two years ago and even though mom was struggling with her dementia, she still went to church most Sundays and understood the special ordinances that were taking place. She was excited and happy for these occasions and for those of you who have been reading my posts from the beginning, you may remember that mom was even a bit obsessed with God and church for a while. It was one of her favorite things to talk about...over and over and over!
I can't tell you the last time mom has mentioned anything about church. It's been well over a year since she's attended church. She had no understanding of Raelynn's special day whatsoever. Her absence was noticed and felt by all of us. When we took our picture together in the hall, as we have with each baptism, I felt sad realizing that this was the first (but not the last) baptism that mom has missed. Several of us noted that grandma wasn't there. She's missed so much over the past couple years-particularly the past year. Yet we've only just begun. My mom won't be there for my other two boy's baptisms, or for any of her grandkid's high school graduations or weddings or baby showers. Her presence will always, always be missed.