Another Birthday Without Her: A Letter to my Mother on my Birthday

March 5, 2019

Another year, another birthday without my mom. To be honest, if my daughter hadn’t of reminded me that my birthday was coming up, I probably would have forgotten. I don’t look forward to them anymore. Sure, I’m glad to be alive, but you see, celebrations were my mother’s thing. She was good at them. She had a special way of making you feel so unique, so loved, and so celebrated. Truth is, she did this every day, not just birthdays.

Birthdays before my mother died were about counting the candles on the birthday cake. Birthdays after my mom died are spent counting how many birthdays it’s been without her. That number is 2. Two birthdays without her here.

Today, on my birthday, the only present I want is another day with her. Just one more day. But no amount of wishes on a birthday cake can make that happen. So, I’ll do what she always told me to do. I’ll write. I’ll write to her.

To my Mother on my Birthday:

Hi, Mom! Today is my birthday, but you already know that. Without you, celebrating just doesn’t seem right. I need you. Not just today, but always.

Your absence changes things. It makes things less beautiful and more heartbreaking. Today, I sit here thinking about this exact day 37 years ago. It was the day you became a mother. It was the day you gave birth to me. Did you realize on this day how amazing you’d be? Did you realize that you were about to become the best mother this world has to offer?

You probably didn’t realize that in the moment you gave birth to me you became so much more than a mother. You became an inspiration. You became a hero. I grew up wanting to be you. I admired everything about you. To this day, I’m still inspired by your unconditional love, your unwavering support, and your dedication to being the best mother any kid could ask for. I’ll never stop wanting to be just like you.

37 years ago our journey began. I became your daughter and the luckiest girl in the world. Being your daughter was a blessing. It was my first gift and the best gift. If I have to celebrate my birthday without you, I’ll celebrate this, this is day I met you.

Instead of counting how many candles I’ve blown out without you here, I’ll celebrate that on this very day, I met you. My life will be forever blessed because of that fact. It’s easy to celebrate you.

So when I blow out my candles, instead of making a wish, I’ll be celebrating the moment you and I met, instead of dwelling on the fact that you’re not here.

I miss you every second of every day. Love you, Mom! Always.

xox, Chels

34 comments so far.

34 responses to “Another Birthday Without Her: A Letter to my Mother on my Birthday”

  1. Gemma says:

    This is just beautiful, it is my 40th birthday on Friday and all I can think about is how the 2 people in the room as I was born are no longer here, my heart hurts… but I will take your writing as advice and celebrate it as they day I met them.. much love

    • chelseaohlemiller says:

      Happy Birthday!!!!! I hope you were able to enjoy and celebrate the day you met. I hope you found more joy and comfort and less pain and heartbreak. Thank you for being here and reading my words. <3, Chels

  2. Liz says:

    Thank you for writing such a lovely tribute to your mom. My mother as she was ‘died’ many years ago, her brain succumbing to early onset dementia. It’s been 7 years since I got a birthday call. She’s alive, yet her absence on my birthday opens the ambigious grief wounds. Today I turn 34. I’m older now than she was when she gave birth to me. I’m not sure how I feel about that realization. Only that some day I hope I’ll have a little one and birthdays will once again be about celebrating beginnings and milestones. XoXo Liz

    • chelseaohlemiller says:

      Happy Birthday!!!! I’m so glad you found my blog and that this piece resonated with you. I’ve heard from many readers about grieving a parent that is still living, although I can’t relate, I find so much inspiration in those of you that do. You are strong and brave and so incredibly resilient, even if you can’t feel it. Thanks for taking the time to share a piece of your story! I hope you’ll keep reading more. <3, Chels

  3. Trisha says:

    Beautiful, I couldn’t have said it any better myself.

  4. Laura says:

    If you wrote this on your Birthday, you and I share the same day. Happy Birthday to you! Today is my first birthday without my wonderful mom and I am struggling to get through it. She passed unexpectedly five months ago and I miss her so much. She made birthdays and every day so special. Thank you for sharing this, it is a help to get through today and celebrate the day I met my mom.

    • chelseaohlemiller says:

      Laura, HAPPY BIRTHDAY! We do share the same birthday. I wrote this last year. It still rings true to this day. I hope you feel your mother’s love today. I will be lifting you in special prayer this morning. Thank you so much for being here and reading my work. It means a lot. <3, Chels

  5. Carolyne carolina says:

    It’s another birthday without my mother,today I just turned 29yrs I celebrate you for giving birth to me,you died when I was just 10yrs old,a girl growing without a mother it wasn’t easy,let me stop at that 😭😭😭miss you always

    • chelseaohlemiller says:

      Carolyne, thank you for being here and reading my work. <3 Sending you uplifting thoughts and comforting prayers.

  6. Shankar malla says:

    I cant control my tears…same thing happened in my life the count was almost 8years but still the pain was increasing day b self im shankar turning 28 now, as a human being faced lots of issues in between the journey with strong heart.but when my mind reminds about my mother the guilt in my mind always killing me.i never told how much i love her i never told how much i miss her.i never bought anything for her,..its too late,but i never did a mistake with any of my family members i used to love each n every person with all the heart i have…but the guilty was increasing day by day.

    • chelseaohlemiller says:

      Thank you so much for reading my work and taking the time to share a piece of your story with me. It moved me to tears this morning. Grief is such an ache that I feel for others that have been where I’ve been. Thank you for being here! I appreciate it more than you know. <3, Chels

  7. JR says:

    This is a blessing to me and my husband. We share the same birthday (believe it or not); it’s today. This is also my 37th (his 35th) birthday, and like you, the 2nd birthday I’m experiencing without my mom.
    To make things harder, we also lost my dear mother-in-law 3.5 months ago. So this is the first birthday that my husband and I have had without her. I went on the internet looking for comfort, and your post came up first. Although it sucks that you’ve had to endure this pain, it’s helpful to know that someone else gets it. THANK YOU so much for writing this. I love the idea of honoring our beautiful moms and the fact that we met them this day. God bless you in your grief💗

    • chelseaohlemiller says:

      Oh my goodness. This brought me tears, for so many reasons. I’m so glad you found my page, although I hate that we share this heartbreak. I hope you follow my FACEBOOK page. It’s a place that holds my stories and also people walking the same path as us. Its comforting knowing we aren’t alone in our grief journey. Thank you for reading my work and thank you for taking the time to send this message!!! <3, Chels

  8. Lakshita says:

    This is just soo motivating and uplifting, today is my second birthday without Mom and I have just been missing her terribly since morning. I came across your post while searching for some quotes and believe me, it has actually helped stop my tears and think about celebrating it as a day when I first met my Mom. Sorry for your loss, i can actually feel what you’ve been going through. Stay blessed, knowingly or unknowingly you are really helping people like me stay motivated through this journey called ‘Life’.

    • chelseaohlemiller says:

      Happy Birthday!!! I am so glad you found this piece. It was the first year I chose to celebrate with more joy than loss and more appreciation than pain. Each year is different. Sending you extra joyful and comforting thoughts for your special day! Follow my Facebook page for daily inspiration and stories and keep checking back, I post new content to my blog every week. <3, Chels

  9. Teresa says:

    Thank you for sharing this, it brought tears to my eyes. Our mom passed away from cancer on July 15, 2020 very unexpectedly. I miss her presence, our daily chats and her as a person. Her birthday is coming up next month and as I struggle to go through the stages of grief, I realize that I too will need to deal with her absence on my birthday. I’ll make sure to celebrate the day that she and I met! ♥️

    • chelseaohlemiller says:

      Thank you so much for your comment, Teresa! I appreciate it more than you know. When people read the work that pours from my heart and take the time to tell me how it has impacted their own grief journey, it is such an indescribable feeling. Birthdays, Anniversaries, and other special days are hard in the grief process, but when you can change your lens to include more love than los, more remembrance than sorry, things start to be filled with such a different path and purpose! Be kind and gracious to yourself, even when it’s hard. Thanks for reading, friend! xox, Chels

  10. Megan Albro says:

    I am 38 today. I am also two birthdays without my desrly loved and lost parent – my Dad. I came across your post because I have been sitting with tears streaming since my husband asked me if I was okay over 20 minutes ago. I was wondering if it was weird to dissolve into grief on your own birthday instead of your lost loved one.
    Thanks for helping me feel less alone today.

    • chelseaohlemiller says:

      Megan, Happy Birthday!!! I am so glad you found my post, though I hate that we share this heartbreak. Birthdays are hard without the person who brought you into this world. It’s complicated and not everyone understands the complex heartbreak of this day. I pray my words helped provide hope and comfort. Thank you for reading my work! I’m always here if you need someone who knows this pain. xox, Chels

  11. Marianne says:

    Thank you for this beautiful piece miss chelsea. I lost my mom 3 days before my birthday,3years ago. and it really hurts like hell. but upon reading your letter, i was inspired to write also mine. thank you for making me see things in a positive light. i hope i could borrow your thoughts with the word,”the day i met you”,if it is okay maam. it pretty sums up all my feelings towards my mom. I hope I could get a reply.

    • chelseaohlemiller says:

      Hi Marianne! I’m so glad you found my page. While my work is copyrighted, you are able to share the links to any of my work and also direct share any of my material on Facebook by clicking the SHARE button. I am always honored when people share my work. It helps others find my page and hopefully resonates and inspires others in the same situation.

      My work is so special to me, a blend of my own healing and helping others heal, which is why it’s so important that it’s shared in the proper manners to ensure others know it is my original writing.

      Praying for you fiercely this morning. I’m so glad my writing helped you write your own letter. That’s beautiful.
      xox, Chels

  12. Jill says:

    I am struggling tremendously without my mother. Our birthdays are coming up on March 14th. We shared a birthday which was so fabulous for 51 years of my life. However, I am paralyzed and completely destroyed when I think about my birthday without her. She used to call me and we would sing happy birthday to “us” to one another. I miss her so much. I just wish I could wipe March 14th off the calendar. Last year the pandemic hit our area officially on March 13th and we shut everything down. I had planned a tribute to her where we would each paint butterflies (I have seen butterflies daily since she died. Real ones at first then a different one always every single day since). We had to cancel. In light of all the suffering that followed in the last year, my pain feels selfish and like no one could possibly understand. It’s a day of mourning for my entire family now. I just want to fast forward past next week. Thank you for this post and this outlet.

  13. Jennifer Talbot says:

    Bout to lose it, holding back the tears. You are a beautiful human, and I know your mom was and is very proud of you, on your birthday and every day. I found your post because today is my daughter’s birthday and this is the 7th I have not been with her, not by death, but by her choice and parental alienation to begin with. But she turns 22 today and has no appreciation for all the things you appreciated about your mother. I have not been able to be an influence on her, so she has chosen a path of hate and her selfishness is rewarded, when all I ever wanted was to be her mom, love her, make her happy and know that I made the world better through my offspring, not harder. I gave her everything I had. Maybe she will see that one day. For now, her birthday is about her, and I will keep counting. Remembering the day I first held her in my arms, and she made me so happy I truly thought I would never be sad again. This day and mother’s day are pretty tough. I guess they are for you too. She did a great job.

  14. Rosy says:

    I’m so glad I found this…I don’t feel so crazy and bad for not looking forward celebrations nor caring about it anymore. Reading this makes me not feel so alone like I have for the past 7 years since my mom passed. I always get judged and called selfish, dramatic etc..but nothing has nor will it ever be the same anymore. I will be turning 30 this Thursday July 29th and I had so many plans for that day of having a big party and celebrating it big but now all I want is to not do anything and to allow myself to cry as much as I need to without feeling guilty. Another bday is just another reminded that I will never be woken up to birthday songs and my bedroom door decorated beautifully by her. Just another day where I don’t get her hugs and will never get to hear her sing to me. But after reading this, I will now start remembering it as the day I met my 1st love, my best friend & without a doubt my HERO!
    Thank you!

    • chelseaohlemiller says:

      Rosy, I’m so glad this resonated with you and provided some hope. I love your new perspective. I hope you continue to find encouragement on my page! xox, Chels

  15. Seraphina Jones says:

    I’m so glad I read this today. It’s my 43rd birthday and my mum was diagnosed with breast cancer a few days before my 18th birthday and suddenly everything changed. She then passed away 4 days after my 24th birthday and 3 days before her 53rd birthday, but I had to celebrate my birthday the day before as she knew she wouldn’t be here for it, she was pretty much in a coma on my birthday until she passed away and even though it was now 19 years ago I relive the feeling of it all every year. My birthday is the 12th, she died on the 16th and her birthday is the 19th, so the whole week is quite torturous for me but I have the pressure (which I put on myself) to enjoy my birthday when really I just want to hide away for the week and cry! Thinking of it as celebrating the day I first met my Mum is a brilliant idea and has really helped me today, I feel especially guilty for not really enjoying my birthday as my Mum was the most enthusiastic person about birthdays ever!! Thank you for publishing this and putting words to how I’m feeling x

    • chelseaohlemiller says:

      Seraphina, first let me say HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!! I hope your day has been filled with beauty, even in the absence of your precious mother. Thank you for sharing a piece of your story. I’m honored to read about your experience. I pray you continue to find hope and encouragement on my page. Hugs, friend! xox, Chels

  16. Shikha Upadhyay says:

    This really brings Tears in my eyes while reading this.. this totally relate me my mum was beautiful I think every mother is beautiful for their child.
    This would be my first birthday without my mom & bro in next month I’ll be turning 20 I think the God has snatched my mom and my younger brother away from me it was literally unexpected last year my birthday is on 3rd November and just after 11 days my brother passed away and after 13 days to him my mom has also left me alone there’s no one who could pamper me like she does it really hurts me like hell (I miss her each n every second of my life) but I think I’m only alive for my dad & elder brother… It’s unable to digest that they left us but after reading your blogs I’ll celebrate this day the day we met the day our journey began I’ll cherish those moments those 19 years which I spent with you my birthdays If I get a chance to ask for something, from God I would like to ask them.. but I’m thankful you’re motivating the people like us who’ve lost their loved ones… This really helped me to get through it…

    • chelseaohlemiller says:

      Shikha, I’m so incredibly honored that my words helped you in your grief journey. Though I absolutely hate that we share this heartbreak. Thank you for sharing pieces of your story with me. I read every word with love and understanding. Lifting you in comfort, peace and encouragement today. xox, Chels

  17. J C says:

    Thank you so much Chels for this wonderful post. Came across it like your previous readers, whilst trying to decipher how I feel & how i can cope with celebrating my birthday today, when my lovely Mum is not with me for the first ever time. Mum always made my birthdays so special, so I had already intended to focus on that & be grateful; but I love the way you mention trying not to see it as a day of sadness but as a day to be thankful and to celebrate meeting our beloved Mum’s for the first ever time ❤️ Thank you for putting into words what I was thinking but could not articulate. Here’s to you Mummy … I love you 💖 Cheers 😘

    • chelseaohlemiller says:

      Thank you so so so much for reading my work and taking the time to comment. Lifting you in comfort, love and hope from afar. xox, Chels

  18. Jess Chaplain says:

    I know this is late but i googled ‘first birthday without my momi’ and this came up. I like the idea of starting a journal specifically to my mom but how.. how do i get past my 32nd birthday, the first one without the woman who birthed me? It feels like the heaviest weight on my chest and it’s only a day away. I know this post is older, and if you don’t reply i understand you’ve moved on and I’ll just re read it. I just feel so alone. I’m so very sad.

  19. Namusanchila Kabeta says:

    This blog post was written a little over 4 years ago and gosh, I needed to see it. Today is my first birthday without my mother and I’m so lost. My first birthday without her breaks me
    Every year she’d always make sure to call and ask me what I want. Today, I haven’t received that call and I wish I could be with her one more time.
    I’m experiencing so many firsts without her and I’m so scared.
    But your post has uplifted me today. For today, I feel less alone. Today marks 23 years since I first met her. And I want to celebrate her Today.
    Thank you so much for this blog post.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



A 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.

Let’s connect: