Tag Archives: Surprise

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.

Be Taking The Cake

Four years ago, I searched all over our small town for a sun hat. I was pumped when I found this hat until I brought it home.


Sexy Neck refused to allow CC to wear this hat. I won’t share all the words expressed about this awesome hat, but ugly was one of them. Our son never wore the hat.

Three years ago, a very good friend Double D, had a baby girl. She was looking for a summer hat so I decided to pass on CC’s never worn hat. (Yes, I had kept it!)

Double D graciously took my generous gift, but again this hat never touched her beautiful little girl’s head. Instead it has become a three year joke where we pass it back and forth in hilarious ways.

Two days ago, Double D took the cake in returning the hat to me. (I had put it in her daughter’s third birthday gift a few weeks ago.)

Can you believe this?



SHE HID THE HAT IN A CAKE! I had tears in my eyes when she handed me the cake she baked. I felt so grateful. I had tears in my eyes as I cut the cake. Our family was laughing and shaking our head at our brilliant friend.

I guess the hat will be hitting the dress-up box. How can I possibly top this cake?


My boys modelling the hat for me.


Why doesn’t anyone like my hat? I just think it is darling!