Alison, I have been in and out of PiP since its inception... and if there's one thing I've learned over the past 13 years here, this place is home, the doors are always open, and there's always someone waiting to welcome you back. O.K., that's three things, but you get my drift I'm sure.
I lost my father in my early 20's to cancer. I was very busy with my new career, and new marriage... and though I always planned to spend more time with him, somehow I let everything else get in the way of what is truly the most important thing in anyone's life, time spent with someone you love. His death broke me of worldly ambition... which I see as a good thing, for it has allowed me time to focus on my relationships with my own children, and siblings.
I know what being a caregiver entails, and I know I don't need to tell you this, because anyone who's ever read you knows you have a big heart, but I will say it anyway: Cherish the time you have with your mother. Once it's gone, there's no changing a second of it. My memories of my father are golden, but tainted with the regret that I wasn't there for him when he needed me most. A pain I can't stand to think of anyone else having.
I wish you the happiest of holidays, Alison, and want you to know your spot on the blue pages is forever reserved just for you. Take care of your business, we will be here to welcome you back with open arms whenever you wish to come back... or even just poke your head in to say, "hi,"