Last year I wrote about our tradition of having a birthday party for my Mom. It shocked me to see how many people read it. In fact, it is the most searched for post I have written! This tells me people are desperate to turn their grief into joy, their sorrow into gladness. When we lose a loved one, we all want to remember they are in a better place. Most of all, we want to celebrate their life.
When we started doing this, I had been stuck in sadness for almost a decade. I would look at all the things Mom had missed instead of all she was to me and for the 23 years I had with her. Celebrating the day she was born has pulled me out of that black hole and into light.
This year our celebration was even better than the other years. Mom’s birthday was yesterday, which happens to be our fall break. We had decided to go to visit my family where Mom grew up and THEN realized we would be there on her birthday. We would celebrate her life where she grew up and where she took us kids to visit every year. God is so good!
We always have a cake and the girls make cards for her. We attach the cards to balloons to send to heaven. They love it and I love seeing their joy. It somehow makes it easier that they never got to meet her when they get to have a party for her. As they get older, they ask more questions and they love hearing stories about Mimi.
Before we left, the girls made cards. Lauren said, “Happy Happy Happy Birthday,” like Phil on Duck Dynasty. Kaitlyn said, “I hope to meet you sometime.” The sweetness brings a tear to my eye.
We had our party with an ice cream cake at my cousin’s house. Kaitlyn told them it was her Mimi’s birthday and that is why we were celebrating. I had told my family ahead of time that I didn’t want it sad, because the girls love it so much. We all miss Mom, but having the kids laugh and enjoy themselves makes it easier.
We released the balloons and they flew up to heaven fast. We watched them go, almost believing they could get there.
I made it through the day without crying until my oldest, Lauren, prayed for Mom’s sister to not be sad. She said in her prayer how great heaven is and that Mom is happy there. Her sweet prayer got me, but I also felt guilty.
Guilty? Something nags at me, and I finally was able to voice it last night and set it free. I told my husband that since I don’t seem to mourn as much as some of my family now, I feel like I must not love Mom as much. As soon as I said it, I knew how crazy it was. Of course I love and miss her. I wish she was here and celebrating her birthday with us.
We are all on a different time table with grief. There is no way to compare ours with anyone else and no reason to. We just have to work through it with God’s help. He doesn’t want us stuck in sadness, and He won’t let us stay there if we ask for help.
I know many of you are in a stage of grief, and sometimes the pain feels so strong you think it will suck the life out of you. Remember that this won’t last forever. Little by little, the sadness of loss is replaced by joy. There is joy in the memories made and the time you spent with those you love. Keep going, and maybe when you are ready, you can celebrate.
I recommend having cake. Cake always helps!