Today would have been my mom’s 68th birthday. I am not going to celebrate by putting balloons out on her grave or having a memorial birthday party. Frankly, that is not how I want to celebrate her birthday. And should I really celebrate her birthday? I mean, she is no longer here and it seems kind of morbid and tacky to celebrate her day of birth when she is so obviously gone.
I am not cold and callous. Well, maybe a little callous. I am struggling to figure out how to get through the “special” days without my mom. It will be two years in September and I have never lost a parent before. When my grandparents all passed away, it was normal. They were old and had lived long lives and it was expected. When my aunts passed away they had been sick for a while and it seemed like they were in a better place. I don’t have a relationship with my bio dad so to me, he is already in the stage of being gone. I don’t think my mom fits that criteria.
She got sick very suddenly and was gone just as quickly. My mom was the glue in our family and where I got my family traditions and values. She was my friend and my confidante. We didn’t always agree and sometimes we did not speak but we always knew that we loved each other and were always there for each other. And now she’s not.
I know that she is there in spirit. I know that I can still have conversations with her and share things with her (not in a psychic or Ouija way but in an I’m-talking-to-my-dead-mom-in-a-spiritual-way.) I know that I can honor her memory by continuing our family traditions and by making sure my kids know how special and great she was. But she is not there for me in the physical sense. She is not there in the cemetery. She is there in the kitchen of her house, in the yard and in pictures and memories.
I think I will celebrate her birthday by trying extra hard to not get frustrated with the kids. To move past an argument with my S.O. To call my siblings and make sure that they are okay today, too. To call my dad (step but my dad) and make sure that he knows we haven’t forgotten her or him.
I will think of her extra today as I do every day. I will pull out pictures and get teary and share memories with my kids who are uncertain how to act when mom gets all teary. I will encourage them that it’s okay to talk about Nanny. I like hearing their stories about her. I will have chocolate and maybe buy a cake because 1. There’s always a reason for cake and 2. She taught me that there’s always a reason for cake.
I will love my mother-in-law a little harder because she tries so hard to make sure that I know that I am loved and still have a surrogate mom. I will refrain from posting on Facebook or Twitter about what today is because I don’t want it to appear that I am whoring myself out for sympathy. And those that loved her the most don’t need a reminder of what today is. Trust me, we know.
So, Happy Birthday mom. We love you. We miss you. We hope we are doing right for you. And the cake is delicious!