Mom's Birthday; Symmetry of Life
Mom’s Birthday: Book Ends of A Life
I thought today would also be just another day that had lost meaning for me since my Mother’s death. My Mom would barely allow me to celebrate her birthday when she was a live let alone when she was dead so why would today bother me? Death is such a permanent word.
I guess because it is the book ends of her life. There is her birthday date and her day of death. No one else seemed very interested in celebrating her birthday with her and she was not a big partier. But it seemed like an important day that I always celebrate with her because it was rather over looked by the family especially her second husband who seemed to use her more for a work horse then a wife.
No matter what my situation was I always called or gave her a gift. Admittedly sometimes I would send it on the 20th and not the 21st. I would get those dates confused because of George Washington’s Birthday. Washington is always screwing things up for me. But on either day she would either hear from me or receive a gift.
Now that she is gone I wish the gifts had been more grand and the telephone calls more frequent but regret is a luxury I really can’t afford. I can only say that I truly miss her today.
On her 50th birthday I gave her the only surprise party of her life. No one else loved my Mother enough to give her a surprise party. I made her a handmade cake and I bought her a bottle of champagne. Since her life was centered around work, I made certain I threw the surprise party at her place of employment. I had received prior approval from her office manager. She was so surprised and everyone in the office managed to give her a little something for her birthday. I had short comings as a daughter admittedly but her 50th surprise birthday party was one of the few things I definitely got right.
I know she appreciated it as well. The year before she died she tried to put together a surprise birthday party for me with what friends I had left. Trust me there is nothing that breaks friendships faster then the words, “My Mom has cancer.” Sane people run for the door. No one willing faces immortality and death. I had been dealing with my Mother’s cancer for over a year by then. So I had socially isolated and decided to dedicate my life entirely to my son her my mother's cancer care. It was all consuming.
But the year before she died she attempted to throw me the one and only surprise party of my life. I am a bit OCD so I am not a person who enjoys surprises. Ultimately, my Mother broke and told me about the party because she didn’t know how to make a homemade cake and she knew I didn’t like store bought cakes. She was right of course, I made my own surprise birthday cake. Although my Mother was quite medicated so I wasn’t really certain what the occasion was we were celebrating. Was it Mother’s Day? I had no idea. I was in that mode of just doing at that point since I was trying to keep her alive.
In retrospect, I now realize my Mom was giving me the one thing she appreciated the most in her life from me which was a surprise birthday party even though it was not on my birthday. Mom had a tendency to change my birthday a lot to meet other peoples’ schedules. She made my brothers’ attend and a friend. And quite frankly, I really didn’t understand she was dying at the time. Her weight was good and she was getting along fine but now in retrospect, I realize she was giving me the one thing she loved which I gave to her.
By her next birthday Mom was gone. And the grief was hard to get through but I was dealing with her alcoholic drug addicted husband and his children commandeering everything of my Mother’s including her remains in the name of the marriage in which the 79 year old step father was so drunk and drugged he would drink himself into the ground before noon. I mean quite literally drugged himself with 10 mg of valium and drank ½ a case of beer before noon. And he would fall into the ground claiming he had bad knees. He didn’t have bad knees. He had bad addictions. And that is all he ever had. He never loved anything but the pills and the alcohol. That includes his children but they followed his path of insanity. My Mother’s cancer was only an excuse to be wasted out of his mind. It was two years of an Irish wake in which I would have to pick his drunken drugged self up out of the dirt. I have slipped discs in my back because of this jerk. And his righteous children left him in this town alone at 79 years old to drive his car. I can’t wait until he runs over the preschooler. I hope the family sues the children who have left their addicted 79 year old Dad living alone and driving an automobile by an elementary school. Now that can’t be too righteous can it?
So with all of their drama, my Mother’s first birthday didn’t bother me as much. But today I feel it. Not because of the addicted step father who used everyone for all they were worth for his own children’s wealth. I feel it because my Mother never had anyone who really loved her. I loved her enough to throw her a surprise party but where was the man in her life who loved her enough to do that for her? Why did she always marry such bad men? So today I grieve for the lose of my Mother but also for the fact that she never had a man in her life that really loved her. As her daughter I was always trying to fill in the gaps between her and her horrific marriages. It is probably the reason I will never marry. I would never want anyone to have to fill in the gaps. I value she appreciated the surprise birthday party on her 50th. I am glad I could give her that in her life. Had I known her life was going to be so short I would have given her far more. As it was she only had a decade of being a grandmother. And that was a role she really wanted.
So the pain is strong today. It hurts like hell and is fresh as the day she died. I was up all last night just thinking about all of her birthday’s and how little thought everyone put into them. What kind of gift is it to give a woman batteries; who doesn’t have toys? What kind of gift is a vacuum cleaner? I am so glad I at least gave her one good birthday which was her 50th. Today my Mom would have been 72. And I miss her. And I am so grateful she at least tried to give me a surprise party which she valued. And I am really grateful I could give her something he valued in her life time. Whatever separated us I knew my Mother loved me because I was always the person she turned to in every trouble time for help and I was truly the one person who knew the things she loved and the things she didn’t.
I thought the pain of grief would be over after a year but it is still as fresh if not more fresh today on my Mother’s birthday
The Conclusion of All Days of Existence
Since her death it always haunts me but in many ways it is reminds me t think of the good times. Her date of death also haunts me as well but in another way. It reminds me how much I miss her and the times we will never share. but they are bookends on a well lived life. My Mom died of cancer so it was not a long life but one that was lived very well.
I too will have bookeneded dates as well all but fortunately I do not celebrate my birthday so my date of death will have even less meaning as I believe consciousness, despite the death of the body, persists.
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