Happy Birthday to You!

Today is mom’s birthday.

Every November 11th (Or closest weekend to it), I would do the same thing. I’d go to Corner Bakery and get two Chopped chicken salads. One with no tomato, and one with no onion. I’d make sure we both got pieces of bread, and would get a lemon pound cake for mom. Today was no different. Well, I guess it was a little different. There was a lot more tears, a lot more memories, a lot more thinking, a lot more hoping, a lot more wishing.

I drove up to the small town in Tennessee mom moved to, to be as close to her as I could for her birthday, but being a small town, there was no Corner Bakery to go to. Yet I still went to Corner Bakery with mom.

I actually had a dream last night. I was at lunch at Corner Bakery with mom. We both had our salads and were sitting across from each other. She looked so happy and so beautiful. She didn’t look like she did when she passed away, she looked like she did when she was in her early thirties. Smiling, long brown curly hair, wearing an outfit I would see her wear to work, all pretty with her jewelry, but there was a different kind of “brightness” about her, she seemed to just glow as she smiled at me. It was a long dream, but I only remember bits of it. I remember the beginning, she smiled and looked at me and said how happy she was to see me, and that she misses me. After that, I don’t remember much until the end, when I guess it was time to go and she smiled at me again and said that she loves me and that I shouldn’t be sad and she is always watching me.

I woke up after she said that, and after realizing it was a dream, I tried my hardest to fall back asleep to go back to her. I could not though, so I laid there, tears streaming down my face wishing I could go to lunch with her again. Wishing that she were here to go get a birthday sundae from Baskin Robbins.

It doesn’t make sense to me. A birthday is supposed to be a celebration of life. A time to remember the past, but look towards the future, look towards the next birthday. It’s hard to celebrate a birthday of a loved one without them.

It was as if God made sure for me to know that He, and heaven were celebrating her birthday. As we drove around today, it seemed everywhere I looked He was telling me that mom was being celebrated. I saw three or four happy birthday balloons scattered about, and saw at least 5 announcement boards (like on gas stations or at a McDonald’s) that read “Happy Birthday”. I’m sure she’s in heaven eating her weight in Cracker Barrel pancakes and lemon pound cake having the best birthday ever.

Mom would’ve been 50 years old today.

 

Happy birthday mom, I love you!!

Mark 9:36 – 37; Taking a child, He set him before them, and taking him in His arms, He said to them, “Whoever receives one child like this in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me does not receive Me, but Him who sent Me.”

October

Another month passes by without mom, this one in particular was a bit harder than the first couple. October was always mom’s favorite month. It was kind of like a “Peace” time, as it was a month without any major things happening. September was always crazy between school and my birthday, and November had her birthday and Thanksgiving. She loved that the weather was finally changing, and in Texas that was always something to look forward to. Besides the cooler weather, October is always prime time for football. Mom was a big Cowboys fan, and we even did fantasy football for a year and her team name was “Dak to the Future”. I was/am the commissioner for the league that we played, and when the time came to start fantasy again this year, nothing was harder than staring at her team, knowing that she wasn’t going to be playing again.

 

Everyone deals with the passing of a loved one differently. For me it’s avoidance. I don’t like it, but it’s just what I’m doing/did, and if I could stop I would. When I say avoidance, I don’t mean that I’m not accepting the fact that mom passed away, I just avoid (subconsciously) thinking, or talking about it. Of course that’s where therapy comes in to help that avoidance.

 

Anyways, back to the story.

 

This fantasy football thing was the real first instance that I truly had to face the fact that mom was actually gone. I wasn’t going to stop the league, others still wanted to play, but were very understanding if I wanted to take a break for a season. Outside of mom’s actual passing, nothing has been harder than hitting the “Delete Owner” button next to her team name. I’m not exaggerating when I say it took me days to build up the strength to do it, and I cried every time I looked at her name. It may seem minor, but I will never forget sitting on that couch, closing my eyes, holding back tears, and finally hitting that button.

I did feel a sort of sense of relief, and even could hear mom in my head go “Good job Alex!” the way she used to. I know that there is nothing she wants more  than for me and all of her loved ones to move forward with their lives. To never forget her, but not dwell on her.

 

I know she and God gave me the strength to move forward, and will continue to.

 

Psalm 32:8 – I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with MY eye upon you