We lost Baba last year.
Of course, some might argue that we had lost her a long time before that, because much of her personality and mind were subdued and hidden under a murky cloud due to the serious of small strokes that affected her about a year and a half earlier.
You might say that the mourning process began a lot earlier.
And it never truly stopped.
I still think of her every day. Francine and I regularly talk about her - discuss how she might react to something going on, how much she might have enjoyed something else taking place; laughing about a funny comment she made in a similar circumstance. Family gatherings just haven't been the same without her so we often conjure her up in shared personal memories.
Alexander often talks about "Old Baba" - he came up with the name on his own. Baba was always Baba to everyone, so we named my Mom, Alexander's Baba, "Baba Jean" to distinguish between the two. Except Alexander felt the need to distinguish in his own descriptive way, and she thus became "Old Baba" to him - and yes, we all had fun with that. Of course, Alexander adored "Old Baba" - and she adored children.
There are a lot of pictures of Baba with me and my cousins Rodney & Kevin, all at various stages of growing up (some of them appear in my post "Baba's Boys" & "More Baba's Boys") - but my favourite picture of her is this one where her and Alexander are smiling unabashedly at one another. It's one of those perfect moments that wonderfully captured the special and gentle love she shared with the world.
Baba was very much like a second mother to me; Baba was the epitome of love. When children were worshiping Santa Claus, I was thankful to have a special loving woman like Annie Dusick in my life and I still feel blessed to have had her play such a central role in my life.
I'm thankful for the many memories, all the laughs, the smiles, all those special "Baba" moments I grew up with an enjoyed as an adult. I cherish the fact that no matter how old I got, Baba was always an important figure in my life. At my wedding I danced with my Mom, but I also danced with my Baba to her favourite song - Conway Twitty's "Here's A Quarter (Call Someone Who Cares)" - Ironically, even through my university years, I was constantly ensuring I called Baba so she knew that I still cared, that I still loved her, that she was still the central special matriarch of our family.
Baba might be gone, but her legacy, her love and all the things she meant to so many still live on.
I love you, Baba!