I flip the calendar from September to October, another month that has swiftly come and gone. As I use a paperclip to push back all of the previous pages and months before, I begin to cry. For the past five years this month brings tears and sorrow, where before it held joyful celebration of the birth of my mother, a day to celebrate her greatness. She was always humble in her requests and appreciative for any and everything she received. Her favorite gift was simply time, time with those she loved so well.
Today, I find myself longing for that same request. Time.
Time to celebrate all that she was. Time to hug her again. Time to laugh with her again.
Staring at these pages I’m perplexed that five entire calendars have been filled, flipped through and lived without her. I’m confused and cloudy-headed thinking about the nearly five birthdays that have been void of the very person meant to celebrate on this day. Each one has been vastly different as our grief and comprehension of this loss has shifted through the years. I wonder what this year will look like.
I wonder how I’ll feel when I wake up on the birthday of my angel mother. I wonder if it will mirror birthdays of the past or if this year’s grief will bring something new. These special days tend to unlock hidden elements of grief’s influence. I’m both never surprised and constantly surprised by the consequences of grief’s hold on my life. Grieving hearts understand the duality of conflicting emotions in a way no one else can.
I used to make plans for this day, even in her absence, but I quickly learned that I cannot predict the mindset I will wake up with and I certainly cannot predict the effects of grief’s leadership on these special occasions. Now, years after my mother’s death, I no longer plan, I wait. I let the day begin and drift alongside wherever it takes me. Some years it leads to graveside conversations, some years it leads to cake, balloons and streamers, and other years it simply leads to deeper breaths, effortless tears, and chosen solitude.
Soon, I will learn what this year will bring. Her birthday is days away and just the anticipation of this day is hard to handle. Some years the anticipation of this special occasion is worse than the actual day. Some years it isn’t. Grief is chaotic like that.
For now, I stare at this calendar. I grab a marker and place a heart around the day that my mother was born. I carefully write “Mom’s Birthday”, followed by x’s and o’s, her signature touch. I wish I was rushing around trying to find the perfect gift and card to hand her. Instead, I’m carefully reminding myself of the beauty of what remains and the purpose in celebrating, even in her absence.
I delicately close my planner as tears stream down my face. While grief typically decides the transactions of the coming day, I try to empower love and reminiscence to take control and guide me. To help me acknowledge the birth of someone worth celebrating, the birthday of my mother, a mother in heaven.
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.