Friday, April 20, 2012

Happy Birthday, Dear Mom

Today is my mom's birthday. This is the first year since 2006, when my mother died, that I have honestly attempted to celebrate this day.

The first three years after her death, I pretended April 20th didn't exist. It seemed easier that way. If I ignored it, I could also ignore the pain I felt. After all, how can the day that is all about her exist if she's not even here?

The next few years, I spent April 20th in a state of depression and silent anger. Angry that I couldn't celebrate my mom's birthday like other 30 year olds and send a card or maybe flowers, go out to dinner together, at least a call to sing her happy birthday. I was angry at my husband for not recognizing the state I was in, for not seeing how this day could be a bad day in my eyes. It was a bad day. Right there with June 9th, the day she died.

This year, I suppose I'm making progress. I can say today is my mom's birthday, and even though my eyes well with tears there may be a hint of a smile on my lips as I say it. Because today should not be a sad day. It should not. Today should be the day to celebrate all the amazingly wonderful things that made my mom brilliantly unique.

I have never known anyone quite as optimistic as my mom. She was happy. One day, her and I were outside in the garden at Hospice. My mother was a florist and an avid gardener. We were leisurely walking around the path and my mom was telling me the name of this flower and that one. It was a beautiful spring day. The gardener was there working and my mom wanted to talk to her. She was asking her about multiple aspects of the job, how many days a week was she there, did they have volunteers helping, etc. Without even hesitating, my mother tells the lady, "when I'm well again, I would like to volunteer here gardening." The eternal optimist. We knew she was not going to be well again. But her? She wouldn't allow herself to believe it. I don't even know if deep down inside, in that place where your brain holds you accountable for reality, she accepted it. That's who she was. Never ending sunshine. my mother, who I miss more than imaginable, I sing this to you in my perk, perk, perkiest voice.

Happy birthday to you!

Happy birthday to you!

Happy birthday, dear Mom!

Happy birthday to you!


  1. Beautiful. I am hoping to someday feel that way about the special days in my father's life again. He was the same way, an eternal optimist. Happy Birthday, indeed.

    1. Growing up with an eternal optimist was tricky, especially when I was a glass half empty kind of girl. But now, I'd give anything to hear her optimistic viewpoint. Thanks for joining me in celebrating her day!