Happy Birthday, Mom

Death is a date in the calendar, but grief is the calendar.  John Pavlovitz in a January 2017 blog post on grief

That first anniversary, the first birthday, the first Christmas are all grief milestones that we dread but optimistically anticipate because it means we survived.  We did it.

But then comes the kicker:  it can be worse after the first anniversary, the first birthday, the first Christmas because “grief is the calendar.”

My mom died at the age of 55. Today she would have been 84. Sometimes I feel embarrassed that the grief still feels raw. What’s wrong with me? Did I not find answers during that 1990 “surviving loss” conference at Montreat?  (Yay.  I survived.)

My parents were both gone before I was 35 years old, just as I was giving birth to their grandchildren and trying to figure out the whole home/work life balance that my mother had juggled so well throughout my life.  I had given up any expectation that I, too, could prepare a homecooked pot roast with three vegetables and dessert while getting everybody to church on Sunday mornings. Being the pastor was not the same as being the Sunday School teacher or the nursery volunteer. But how did she do it?  (Note: The fact that she didn’t live long enough to tell me might be a clue.)

I miss her every day.  She would have loved her grandchildren with a fierce devotion.  It still annoys me when people say, “She is watching them from heaven” when there are graduations and weddings and kids going to graduate school in other countries.  Actually, I would have preferred to watch her watch them.

Mom was my biggest fan.  And who doesn’t need an unconditionally devoted cheerleader when the world sometimes tells you that you are not enough?

So the calendar continues to impale me in deep places.  But tonight I will relish eating dinner with two of her favorite grandchildren and one of her favorite grandchildren-in-law at one of my happy places.  #FlourlessChocolateWaffle

Image of my mom and her FBC.  Post written in loving memory of Peggy McDonald who was a really good mom.

Bonus article on the Rothko Chapel here.  “We need lonely places, but it helps to know that they’re lonely for everyone. We all have mothers, and we all lose them, though never in the same way.”

 

7 responses to “Happy Birthday, Mom

  1. Jan, I am so sorry. We never stop missing them. There is nothing wrong with you. That’s how grief is. Which you know, but I just thought I’d say it. Love to you.

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  2. I agree…. it never stops… it just feels different for me each year. I figure if we can “get over it” that special relationship with our mom’s wasn’t so special. Our grief is a tribute to their place in our lives I think. thanks for this blog.

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  3. God bless your mom! This spoke to me and many others, for sure. Also, where does one get a Flourless Chocolate Waffle? Just curious…

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  4. This, I so get this: “It still annoys me when people say, “She is watching them from heaven” when there are graduations and weddings and kids going to graduate school in other countries. Actually, I would have preferred to watch her watch them.” Yes, yes, YES! Thank you for sharing and for being real.

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  5. Love to you, from another daughter whose mom didn’t get to see the grandkids grow up.

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