Today is your third birthday in Heaven, Mom. It’s bittersweet to say Happy Birthday to you because while I’ll always celebrate your incredible life, happiness will never look the same without you.
When I think about the last birthday we celebrated while you were still here, my emotions are so mixed. You were sick, but you didn’t let it stop you. We surprised you with a 70th birthday party with your closest family. You wanted to go to Red Lobster so badly, I felt kind of guilty throwing you a party instead! It’s been a running joke we’ve had ever since.
But when you saw everyone you loved on our porch, your face lit up with pure joy. I’ll never forget it. We all knew you were sick, but for the strongest woman in the world, cancer wasn’t going to stop you. Totally exhausted from treatment, you pushed through life as strong as ever. Even as unsteady as you were on your feet, you carried that cane, running (not walking) instead of using it. Of course, you did! That was you. Never accepting defeat – not letting a little thing called Stage 4 Lung Cancer phase you. We laughed about it then, but I think back now to how so much would change in the next five months, and how that was the last time I really got to see you so positive, driven, and full of hope.
I remember all of the good times on days like today, but I can’t help but recall the sadness, too.
How I’ll never feel your arms around me again.
How you’ll never call me to see if I got to work okay when the weather is bad, or if there’s an accident on the news.
How I’ll never see you smile with pride and love when I tell you about something great that happened in my life.
How you’ll never know me as I age, and go through life’s changes.
How I’ll never hear you speak my name or your words of brilliant advice and reassurance, the ones only you could give (and I’d listen to!).
How I’ll never feel as special as you made me feel with every kind word and kris-a-palooza visits!
How you’ll never watch your shows again, read all the books you love, see your Bella pup (or my pups), shop for gifts for everyone and their mother (literally!), or talk on the phone for hours with someone who needed you.
Someone always needed you, Mom – me most of all.
We’ll celebrate you tonight. Not with a surprise party for you, or with the cards and gifts you so treasured. We’ll celebrate you with a somber dinner, with memories spoken, with tears in our eyes. We’ll talk about how amazing you were – the best! Dad will reminisce about how he fell in love with you, how strong you were, how you were so good to everyone around you – from strangers to family. We’ll toast to you and your beautiful life, and how blessed we were to have you for such a short time. We’ll know you’re at peace, but selfishly, we’ll grieve that you’re not here with us.
Our grief will never change…not on your birthday or any other day where your beautiful smile and palpable energy of love is so obviously absent.
The special days are difficult, yes. But so are the rainy days and the sunny days. And all the days I just want (no, need) my mom, like every day since you left us.
Life will never be the same without you. Underneath the joy, lives a layer of heartache. I go on without you, because of you. You were my angel on Earth, and now you’re my angel in Heaven. This birthday, I’m sending you peace, love, and joy you so deserve.
You’re missed beyond words and loved beyond measure.
Happy Bittersweet Birthday in Heaven, Mom. You’re worth every tear I shed for the rest of my days. I love you.
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