My family was dealt an unfair hand, almost seventeen years ago, when my Mom passed away. Life can be unfair.
Today would have been her sixty-ninth birthday. Sixty-ninth. It’s hard for me to imagine what she would have looked like. I think she would have allowed herself to grow old gracefully. I know she would have been a fun grandmother, letting my kids get away with murder and spoiling them rotten. She passed away two weeks after my oldest daughter, Zoe was born, at the young age of fifty-two.
People say losing a loved one gets easier with time. I don’t know who these people are. What I do know for sure is that over the years I’ve gotten used to the empty feeling inside of me. Time does help but the pain and grief are still there. They don’t surface very often now, but every once in a while, they roar their angry heads. And when they do, I am hit with a blow that almost takes my breath away. A day doesn’t go by when I don’t think about her and I will always miss her.
Today is her birthday.
When my children were young, and couldn’t understand the concept of death, I desperately wanted them to know about my mom. To know who she was, what she looked like and how much I loved her. Of course, they would never know what if felt like to hug her, the sound of her laugh or the smell of her perfume.
I struggled with a way to bring her into our lives. Into their lives. And, I found a way.
My Mom adored eating hot fudge sundaes. A lot. This was something my kids could understand. My kids could wrap their heads around the concept of eating ice-cream to celebrate a birthday.
And so it began, a tradition of eating an ice-cream sundae every September 10, to celebrate my Mom’s birthday.
Some years we have extra toppings. Other years, I just scoop some ice-cream in between school homework and activities. I make sure we take the time to remember my Mom, their “Grandma Terri” on this day and the special woman my kids never got to know.
It isn’t the way I wanted things to go, but it’s all I have. I hang on to this tradition, tightly and with both hands. Life can be unfair.
I am not bitter though, because that wouldn’t change anything and she wouldn’t want me to be. I do the best I can. I know she’s with me all the time, traveling though life with me, and smiling down on her granddaughters.
I can hear her whisper to me, “I am so proud” and I know she is.
Happy birthday, Mom.
Find meaning each day,