On Wednesday my Mom would have been 69. She was amazing and touched so many lives but never got to meet her grandchildren. Every year we have a birthday party for her and celebrate the fact that she lived!
When the girls got home from school that day, we picked out a cake and got some balloons. The girls get really excited about cake. (Wonder where they got that from?) They had made cards for her the day before.
After dinner we sang Happy Birthday and the girls blew out the candles for their Mimi.
Once half of the cake was gone, we went outside to send the balloons to heaven. This year we did things a little different. We have always attached the cards the girls made to the balloons, but that involves cutting most of the card off so the balloons will go up. I didn’t want to cut them up this time, so I kept the cards and we just sent her the balloons. I think she will be OK with that.
Since they never even met her, the girls love to ask questions about Mimi. While I can answer most of them, I am sorry to say I don’t recall her favorite kind of potato chip. It is important that Mom is real to them, so we talk about her and look at some pictures.
Right now, I know there are people reading this thinking, “I can’t have a birthday party and smile. The pain is too heavy.” It took me 10 years to be able to be happy on Mom’s birthday, and I still have plenty of sad moments. Whatever part of grieving you are in is real and shouldn’t be ignored. You wouldn’t feel this way if you didn’t love them as much as you do. That love, and even the grief, is a gift. I know it is so hard to see it that way, but it is. You were given that person for a shorter amount of time than you wanted, but you still had that time. You will always have them in your heart and your memories. One day you will be able to share that with others.
When we can get to a place of celebrating someone’s life, it doesn’t take away all the sadness. It doesn’t make us not miss them. What it does is see the good. It helps us focus on the fact that we had them in our lives for as long as we did. Not everyone gets that. I know I wouldn’t trade the 23 years I had with Mom for longer with anyone else. I am so happy she lived!
If you are ready to celebrate a life, I suggest eating cake. Cake makes just about anything better.
Linking with Holley Gerth