Date: October 21, 2018 07:40AM
Shirley looked around her tiny supported-living apartment. Every surface was covered with memories in tiny frames. She had always loved the photos of children and grandchildren and had delighted in showing them off to her visiting teachers. There had been more room for them in the living room of the family home, but that had been sold to fund the first senior mission she and Robert had taken. There had also been room for other memorabilia, Relief Society awards she had received, china she had collected and the wedding portraits of all her children, her eldest son's photo as school captain plus her daughter's photo in cap and gown at her graduation from medical school.
Now there was little enough room. The photo taken of Robert in his army uniform during the war had gone. She thought young Rob might have it but there was still the snaps of the pair of them outside each of the temples they had visited. The photo had still been there in the small maisonette they had bought after their first mission, and the apartment they sold, to pay for their third, but she couldn't recall it in the rented apartment, which was all they could afford after their fourth mission. She still kept Alice's graduation picture, even though she hadn't seen her daughter for nearly fifteen years. It was good to brag to her fellow residents about her doctor daughter and the grandchildren she no longer saw.
Of course, the faithful ones kept her supplied with updates. If only they weren't so far away in Zion. But there were the great grandchildren; Jake the day he was ordained a deacon, little Jordan in his first Scout uniform, Madison off to girl's camp and their father in his missionary suit. She wondered what the other grandchildren were up to. Rob, her first born, told her what his boys and grandkids were doing but that hardly mattered. Their mother had never embraced the gospel so their achievements were less important. Still she could brag about Rob's boy getting his PhD and his brother's tech company and their talented children.
Yes, she was a good mother and grandmother. She had never resiled from the difficulties of raising children in the church so far away from a strong Mormon community. Such a shame that Rob hadn't married Elaine, the prettiest girl in the Stake. And they had dated for several years. It would have been perfect. Elaine's mother was Stake Relief Society President, and she, Shirley, Stake secretary. But Rob was frustrated after waiting for her to finish her mission and Elaine was holding out for a returned missionary. She had been a good mother to Alice, too. She couldn't understand why she never saw Alice's children and she heard that now there were grandchildren there too. Alice must have heeded her warnings about Cameron. She knew that boys who were learning ballet would turn to homosexuality, but it seems that he's a father now, so perhaps he stopped in time. Rebecca was only a teen when Shirley last saw her. Hopefully, she listened to grandmother telling her she was going to have to watch her weight like her mother and choose more suitable clothes.
She hadn't really missed Robert after he had died, but she always told people how lonely she was. Visiting teachers rarely stopped by now, and she didn't like to associate too closely with the other women in her facility. Still, she could always talk about the photos and she had always been good at embellishing the facts.