Special occasions are said to be most difficult during the first year. They are hard; you don’t know how to go about anything, you don’t know how it will feel, you miss them. So much.
The second year was almost more difficult for me though. It’s the second year when you discover they are really gone, and always will be. The second year I thought okay, she’s missing things now! That was the hard part.
The third go round feels different still. But, as far as I can tell, it brings with it a much greater amount of peace. You learn how to make them a part of things while they are absent. You understand a little bit more fully that they are here, and that happy occasions don’t deserve to be sad occasions forever.
On this, my “third” birthday, I wake up feeling happy and alive. Hopeful. She’s closer now than in the past two years, this can only mean bright things for years still to come.
Today was my mom’s birthday. Last night as I glanced at my computer, past midnight, I unexpectedly saw the Facebook announcement… Such things bring her back to life sometimes. It hit me then – it made her a real person again for a time. Those are the hardest moments; when for a second I think she’s is still out there somewhere, having birthdays. All of a sudden I can see her, smell her hair, touch her skin… It’s astonishing when she disappears again. But as heart-wrenching as it is to realize that she’s not turning another year older, I cannot help but be overwhelmed and inspired by knowing that she didn’t waste any of her years. I am so proud to know that people’s lives were changed because my mom refused to be anything other than who she was. Her raw authenticity and transparent emotion created a safe place for people; a place where every person felt like they were valued. Thank you mom, for secretly planting the things inside of me that I never suspected – the things I now see growing. Every year that passes, more parts of you are parts of me. Thank you for this gift. You are loved. You are remembered. You are my inspiration. Happy birthday <3