Be Having a Beautifully Brutal Birthday

‘They’ say that the fourth month after the loss of a loved one often leads to things getting ‘easier’! I would have agreed with ‘them’ until I celebrated my birthday this week. ‘They’ also say that all the firsts are extremely difficult. I wholeheartedly concur.

The holes my mom has left in my every day life have slowly been filled with new routines, and great family and friends leaning in. The holes are still felt but the feeling is not a tidal wave that pushes my face into the sand, but a gentle waves the nudges me to shore.

My birthday, oh baby, that was a different story. On my birthday last week, I felt a gaping wound where my mom would have been. My body was pulverized into the sand as wave after wave hit me. All I could do was cry. I am still trying to recover.

Tears flowing effortlessly.

Walking through mud.

Feeling vulnerable and exposed.

A day to celebrate.

A day to grieve a deep loss.

A day of gratitude for the woman who birthed me.

Mom was an incredible birthday celebrator. She truly honoured the birthday boy/girl on their birthday with a gift and activity that was personal and thoughtful. There was no token birthday dinner and cake but usually something to be done together. She took the time to ponder, plot and come up with a very special gift and day.

I remember my eighteenth birthday. I wanted to get up and watch the sun rise. (For those people who ‘know’ me you are probably laughing hysterically.). My mom didn’t mock this teenager, that liked to sleep til noon, but instead she jumped on my idea and started asking questions: What time is sunrise these days? Where do you want to go? What time should we leave the house? My parents and I watched the sunrise on my eighteenth birthday from the top of Cranbrook Hill.

Then came by big 3-0 birthday. Sexy Neck concocted a surprise for me with my parents help. They flew all the way over to Germany to surprise me at a hotel, the Oberamerhof. We were having a birthday celebration there with some friends from the school we were teaching at in Zurich, Switzerland. I bawled my eyes out!

Well this birthday, I bawled my eyes out again. I cried over the boys playing on a teeter totter and mom not being on the bench beside me talking about how the boys are growing.


20140502-224537.jpgI bawled at the kind and thoughtful Facebook posts. I bawled through birthday cards, cake and my boys really doing their best to make it a special day. I bawled because of the incredible gratitude I felt. I bawled because of the overwhelming loss of my mom.

Gaping wound.

Large hole.

Waves coming hard in the storm.

Hot dog roast.







Birthday cake.




Leaning in.

Staying close to home.

Face in the sand.

Waiting for the waves to end.

Unpredictable storms of grief.

Just waiting.



Staying present.

Being me.

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