You’re probably reading the title of this blog post and wondering what it means. Does it mean I’ll cry happy tears or sad tears?
Why would someone cry on their birthday?
You’ve probably been ingrained to think that for someone who had lost their mum, Mother’s Day would the hardest day of the year to get through (if you’d given it much thought at all). Or their birthday. Maybe Christmas. Most people would assume that our birthday wouldn’t really be up there on the radar of the ‘hard to deal with’ days of the calendar year but for me it’s always been the most difficult day of the year to deal with the loss of mine.
Who makes the biggest deal of birthdays in your family? Think back to when you were younger and perhaps now as a parent. What do you remember about your birthdays? Was it your mum making you feel special with a lovely pile of presents and a planned celebration? Chances are it probably was. If you are a parent, you’ll know that your little one’s birthday is made particularly special for them because as a mum you make it so. Sure, dads also put in some effort but there is something to be said about mums and birthday celebrations and the ability to make it such a special day for their child.
Take that aspect of birthdays away and it can be a very hard day to get through without a few tears and the feeling of loss that can come and suffocate you at any time of the year but chooses what should be one of the happier days to do so.
After 13 years I do feel like I’m in a better place than I have been in the past. Two little men who make it clear that they adore me (plus an older one!) and I’m spoilt rotten in the love department and quite frankly, I’m so busy that it’s very easy to force it to the recess of my mind until something happens that reminds me of her or when life has become particularly challenging.
However, on my birthday it’s almost as if the flood gates open up wide and I’m reminded again of what I lost.
I remember birthdays being made to be so special. I’d wake up in the morning to presents all laid out for me, wrapped in beautiful wrapping papers that she had put almost as much thought into purchasing and lovingly wrapping as she had in what she had bought me, and trust me, she was an exquisite gift buyer. She loved things of beauty and that was reflected in every gift she ever bought anyone. Every birthday she would take the day off work and we would do something together before she would cook our favourite meal or we would go out somewhere for dinner.
Once I started working we would meet in the city for lunch (I particularly remember salmon and cream cheese croissants, cappucinos and something decadent, usually chocolate that we would share for dessert). This tradition happened every year, right up to my last birthday which happened to be my 21st and mum had organised a private event at my favourite restaurant. A 21st birthday is always a special event and milestone but it was made even more so by the fact that she had been sick for so long by this point (over 2 years off and on) but seemed to be in remission and was in good spirits, her hair having just grown back into a bob of dark curls that suited her even more than the blond Shona I had always known.
Little did we know at the time that she had only 4 months left to live.
This was the last photo ever taken of us.
And these are the last words she wrote to me, imprinted forever in my birthday book that was left that evening for the guests to sign and which she was the last to do so:
You are everything a mother could ever want in a daughter and more. Not only that, but in your nature is an unconditional love that never changes. You’ve shared your life with me, we’ve hung out, shopped till I’ve dropped and drunk coffee, laughed and commiserated with each other. You never thought it was ‘uncool’ to be with your mum, or to have a cuddle or say ‘I love you’.
The comments in this book and the speeches made at Lone Star must surely convince you once and for all how loved and respected you are, by both friends and family. You have that ‘Wow’ factor too, that is a gift. Use it to pursue your dreams no matter what else happens. People who have let you down in the past don’t count. It’s the good people and the good things that you thank God for and keep close to you. One day there will be a very lucky man ( or two) who’ll appreciate you fully, quirks and all, simply because you’re ‘Haidee’.
It goes without saying that I love you and I’m very proud of you.
All my love,
This. This is what I lost when she died and gives you a rare insight into our relationship.
This is why I cry every birthday at least once, usually at night when the house has settled and everyone else is sleeping soundly in their beds and I’m alone with my thoughts.
This is what I miss.
This is why today is my birthday but I’ll cry before the day is done.
Of course my entire birthday is not a sad affair! Birthdays for motherless children and adults can exacerbate the loss they feel and bring up all sorts of emotion which is what this post is about but past that, I have wonderful moments and appreciate all the birthday love that’s given to me.
And in memory I still indulge in a decadent sweet treat for morning tea, I just get to eat the whole thing myself!