Another first has come around after the passing of a loved one. How do you celebrate a loved ones birthday when they are no longer here?
Yesterday was my mums first birthday without her, another first reached, and she would have been 60 years old this year, a big one! One thing that struck me most when I first lost her was why could other people have their mums until they were 60 but my mum couldn’t even make it to 60?I felt such intense jealousy of those women and as awful as this sounds ,I would look at people older than my mum and ask why are you still here and she’s not?
Yesterday was a strange day. Friends and family had been asking me all week whether I wanted to do anything to mark the occasion, whether I wanted to be around people or left alone or whether I wanted to just let the day pass. I didn’t know what I wanted to do and I certainly didn’t know how I should celebrate or mourn the day, I couldn’t make a decision. I actually felt quite pressured to do something and was worried if I didn’t that people would think I didn’t care. I tried to channel my mum and ask “ what would she want me to do” but I came up blank. I don’t know what she would have wanted me to do because we never ever talked about the prospect that one day we would be permanently separated. I suppose we did what we all do and surpress our own mortality believeing that we will live forever and it will never happen to us. My mum dying had always been my biggest fear and yet at the same time I never really believed it would happen, that was in part what was so shocking of her passing.
I decided that the best way for me to celebrate the day was to spend the day with my husband and daughter and take it as it came. I never know how I’m going to feel on these anniversary days and rather than put pressure on myself to act a certain way, I would rather just see how I felt and act accordingly. I am so lucky in that I have the most amazing husband to love and support me, if I’d have said “on my mums birthday I want to sit and scream” he’d have said “ok whatever you need”. I didn’t want to sit and scream thankfully, I just wanted to do as we do on any Sunday; walk our first baby ( our fur baby), have lunch at a pub and sit on the couch for the afternoon eating chocolate and playing with our second daughter (human baby). And that’s exactly what we did. We also bought some flowers to plant if I was feeling up to it as my mum loved her garden but the weather had other ideas for us on this one. My mum passing taught me more than anything to love those who you have now while you can and that’s what I chose to do on her birthday.
“To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die”-Thomas Campbell
There were a couple of points in the day were the tears fell but that’s ok it was to be expected. I’ve learned to embrace my grief because where there is grief there is love. At the end of the day I sat with my husband and openly cried, I felt so guilty for having not made a big fuss of her birthday. I started to think I should have done a big party or I should have done some huge commemorative gesture and that the fact that I didn’t do those things must mean that I’ve forgotten her. I have days like these were I panic grieve I call it, were I get it into my head that I should be doing things a certain way or feeling a certain way and that if I’m not means I’ve forgotten her and I don’t love her. My husband always brings me back to the earth and helps me realise that there is no right or wrong way to grieving, there’s no right or wrong way to celebrating any anniversary firsts and that the fact I remember my mum everyday is what really matters. I am my mum in so many ways and as I long as I live she does to.
So Mum Happy Birthday wherever you are.