Today is my mom’s birthday. If she were still alive, she would be 64. She died almost seven years ago from pancreatic cancer and not a day goes by that I don’t think of her and wonder how my life would be different if she was still here.
In the past, I used her birthday as an excuse to drink. Since she wasn’t around to celebrate, I figured I’d celebrate for both of us, which meant drinking more than I would normally drink. Now, I realize that I drank because I missed her and I wanted (or needed) to numb the sadness I felt in not having her with me. Instead of focusing on the beautiful life she led before leaving us, I focused on the grief of not having her with us.
Today, was the first time I have woken up on her birthday feeling peaceful and joyful. I still miss her horribly; more than I could ever convey through words. The pain runs deep and I know there will always be a piece of me missing. However, today I choose to focus on her beautiful life and celebrate it without drinking. I will be completely and totally present and focus on those things which she loved.
As I look out the window, I see the tulips beginning to show themselves and the daffodils beginning to bloom. Besides her family and animals, her greatest love was being in her garden. She loved this time of year; a new beginning as new life slowly appeared after a long, grey winter.
Earlier this morning, I sat down at my sewing machine and worked on my son’s new valances as I sipped my coffee and listened to one of her old records. She was an amazing seamstress; I only realize now just how good she was. My stitches are uneven and often messy. Her work was neat and precise, something that only comes with time and practice. I picture her smiling (and perhaps laughing) at my attempts, knowing in time I will figure it out.
This afternoon, I will take my son and daughter to frozen yogurt to celebrate Grammy Rickie’s birthday. It is important for me that they know that just because someone is gone, doesn’t mean we stop celebrating their life. In talking about her and celebrating her, I hope I can always honor her life and memory.
She wasn’t perfect. She had her demons as we all do. Her life was challenging at times; sometimes more than she thought she could handle. But, she did and she did it with grace, dignity and bravery.
Although, I lost her way too soon, I am so grateful I had her for the time I did. Would I change things if I could? Perhaps. But, I know that God needed her more than I did. Her strength and bravery continue to guide me on this journey through life.
And, when the time comes, and I see her again I will laugh with her about my messy and uneven seams.
Happy birthday, Mom!