Today would have been my mom's 83rd birthday. This afternoon when I was poking around online, feeling many regrets about the fact that I'd eaten apples 3 days in a row and for me that is a Mistake with a decided capital M, I started talking to a friend who remembered, and who mused that the day must make me miss her even more.
I do miss her. But...no.
It probably sounds hard-hearted, but birthdays, Christmas, Mother's Day...those days don't make me miss her anymore than I do any other day. She's there in the ether of my brain every day--as is my dad and my father-in-law--and I think about her every day. I miss them all, but milestone days do not add to that.
Perhaps it's a personal defect; I don't know. I just know that the feeling of missing my mother is not increased by what particular day it happens to be.
But it does make you wish she was still here, right?
Well...it really depends. Would she be here happy and healthy and whole, or would she be as she was just before she died, not quite all there and not really herself?
If she could be here happy and healthy, yes. I would like that very much. My world would feel a little bit more right if she were. But if she was here just to be here, that her continued existence meant her mind was still slipping and her body a mass of betrayal, my dad was gone, and she was miserable, then no.
Why would I wish that?
I will embrace the fact that I miss her every day, because it means that she mattered; the fact that it's her birthday? It's a day I can be grateful that she was ever alive, and grateful for what she left behind, my sisters and all the grandkids, and all the wonderful memories they have of her. We all miss her.
But especially today? No. I'd rather think that today she made my dad hop from a cloud on which he was comfortable to a cloud she wanted to visit, where she partied on with her own parents and the brothers who are there with them, and their friends who have also passed on.
I suspect she's having a grand time.
Here's the thing...I think if we believe there's something after this, then holding onto grief so tightly that it impedes our lives is not only a disservice to ourselves, but a dishonor to the people we love. Yes, miss them. That hole where they were isn't going away...but it can be filled with things other than darkness and misery. It can be filled with gratefulness and happiness for the fact that not only did we get to love them in the first place, but that they're in a pretty spiffy place right now.
I miss my mom; I think about her every day. But I'm not steeped in grief, because I think that would be a huge dishonor to her and what she would want for me...that is not what she would want.
I'm happy that she's with my dad. With her parents. With some of her siblings. I'm happy that she's free of the body that was betraying her. And I know, without a shred of doubt, that she's having a happy birthday.