A Birthday without your Mother

March 5, 2020

Birthdays became difficult after my mother passed. Each year I celebrate another year of life, and also another birthday without her here. It’s a hard feeling to describe. It’s an act of counting two things at the same time. Counting candles on a cake and counting the amount of birthdays she’s missed. 

Today is my birthday, which is significant for so many reasons.  It’s the day my life began. The day she became a mother. The day we met. It feels empty not having her here to celebrate this. Afterall, this day is only possible because of her. 

I sit here lost in thought and lost in the reality of another birthday without her. Another birthday without her silly song. Another birthday without her reminder calls to the family to ensure no one forgets. Another birthday without her here to make this day so special and full of love, just as she always did. 

I can still hear her voice singing her quirky version of the birthday song. I hope that memory doesn’t fade, like her existence did. I hope it stays, always. Locked inside my mind and heart, unable to be forgotten or replaced.

It’s a harsh reality seeing all of the birthday messages, calls, and texts coming in, knowing that her name won’t be one that pops up on my screen. Mom is a name that doesn’t appear on my phone anymore. It’s a simple fact, but one that serves like a punch to the gut, especially on a day like today. 

I realized last year that while it was hard to celebrate me, it is not hard to celebrate her. It comes easy. So even though the only present I want is another day with her, it’s a present that no amount of wishes on a birthday cake can make happen. It’s a reality that gets more solid as each new birthday or special moment rolls around. 

Today, on my birthday, I’ll still celebrate. I’ll still find joy. It will just look different than before. 

Today, I will celebrate my birthday. I will celebrate the day I met my mother. The day I became hers, and she became mine. My life will be forever blessed because of that fact. 

Tonight, when I blow out my candles, I’ll make a wish. Then, I’ll smile. I’ll look up, and I’ll celebrate the moment we met. The moment she gave me life, and the best mother the world had to offer. 

xox, Chels

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3 responses to “A Birthday without your Mother”

  1. Ann says:

    Your writing is so beautiful I get great comfort from your words my story is quite different I lost my daughter 29 1 2019.I am lost without her it absolutely rocked my world totally heartbroken it was her birthday yesterday and I miss her so badly ❤

    • chelseaohlemiller says:

      Ann, thank you so much for your kind words. I am lifting you in immense comfort, love and hope as you endure this unique grief. Sending you hugs and encouragement from afar. xox, Chels

  2. Tina McDowell says:

    This hits home for me but even harder. My mom’s birthday and mine were 4 days apart. So every year for the past 3 years have been pretty rough. Not having her around for that phone call gets more depressing every day and year. She was my best friend my heart, my everything.

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Chelsea Ohlemiller

Chelsea Ohlemiller

A thirty-something wife, mother and educator who has Indiana roots and a passionate spirit. Chelsea is a sappy romantic, coffee junkie, book collector, and person who wears her heart on her sleeve. She’s sarcastic, full of jokes, full of tears, and enjoys writing most when life gets messy or complicated. In 2017, Chelsea's mother passed away. Through her grief journey, she decided to take her mother’s advice and share her writing with the world. One day she gained the courage to honor her mother's wishes and write. It turned out to be one of the best decisions she's ever made.

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