Every year I try to prepare myself…I see the calendar as the dates pass and I near the dates when I should only spend the day remembering my good times celebrating my mother’s birthday while she was still alive. (And I remember just about every one of them…)
I guess it was when I was maybe 24 or 25, my mother and I decided to spend her birthday doing something together. So if that meant I was supposed to work on that day, I would take the day off and make sure that there was nothing else on my agenda. One year we went to Ellis Island where we took a real tourist picture (one I still have framed on my desk…17 years later.) Another year, we went to Roosevelt Island to explore that old decrepit building we had been sure we’d be able to get into to investigate what may have happened within those old, crumbling walls.
I remember another year it rained super bad and it was cold (not common for June 21st) so we spent the day at Madame Tussaud’s wax museum and then went to see My Big Fat Greek Wedding…and we laughed and laughed!
I also remember how initially my mother was resistant to my “stopping” my life for a day to celebrate her. But I also remember when she gave in and I guess maybe just imagined that it would be how she’d love to spend “her day”…or any “day” anyway it was ok. And I would spend time each year trying to prepare for that day, coming up with the best plan for us. Always just wanting my mother to be happy. I knew she had been disappointed with the way her life turned out, though I also know that she considered me to have been her prize for what she had been through.
Now I spend time trying to prepare myself for the passing of today…a day that means something different to so many other people (I have a cousin whose birthday is also today and plus today is the first day of summer! There have even been year’s when Father’s Day has fallen on this date). But it doesn’t matter to me…to me it will always be my mother’s birthday and no matter how hard I try, I still can’t make it through the day without ultimately ending up in tears, feeling so badly for the woman who I still miss every day of my life. Her kindness and patience for me and undying support and devotion. I just want to hold her one more time to apologize for how much I know she suffered before she died and how when she did pass, I was grateful that her suffering was over.
Now, 12 years later…I can still feel as badly as I did the first time I realized that those last 14 months with her, while I knew she was dying…had actually ended with me no longer being able to call her…ever be able to tell her “Thank you!” or “I love you!” again. And I think I’ll just feel this way on this date forever…the pain hasn’t gotten easier, as they always said, you will just get used to it. So maybe next year, I will stop being so resistant towards it and just plan to feel badly all day and then maybe I’ll be able to finally see past it. Because this plan has just not been working at all.
I hope she can still hear me as I say:
“I love you, Mom, with all my heart, and I always will!”…and that’s my plan.