I used to enjoy this time of the year; the week leading up to my birthday. Mom would act all conspicuous and tell me to not ask questions around my birthday. She would cook the best meals and deserts and do anything and everything to make me feel special. Mom always celebrated everything she possibly could, even trivial things like a good test score, or the first day of summer. She would make everything an event. She would get so excited about the smallest things, like sharing an ice cream sandwich with one of her kids, or on Sundays when our family got together after church she would dance around the kitchen because she could not contain the joy that she got from loving us well. Try to imagine how excited a person, who would bake a cake just because it was Tuesday, would get about one of her childrens birthdays. The whole week seemed like a festival.
But mom passed away in September.
And this week, which used to be such a happy time, just feels like a monument to what I’ve lost.
To what the world has lost.
Where do I go from here? Do I kill what I’m feeling and paint on a smile with the blood of my dead emotions? There must be a better answer than that.
In moments of clarity, I can see that the future holds a lifetime of happiness. I can see light in the world once again. Much of the time I am fully aware of the incredible friends that have gathered around me. Most of the time I feel celebrated. Sometimes I even look forward to my birthday. Because the truth is, I will be the most loved person in the world on March the 14th; I have been blessed beyond all belief with the most supportive, loving, generous and wise friends. But even with such incredible people celebrating me, there are still times when all I feel is the absence of the celebration I grew up in.
I know that time and intimacy with God and the people around me will slowly bring healing, but right now March the 14th is screaming at me, and even though I know that it’s words aren’t true, they still sting.
“Happy birthday. You’re all alone.”