September 2nd, 2011 at 9:34 am
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A sentimental day: birthdays without mom

by Judy Kirkwood

September is the perfect time for new beginnings because with Labor Day comes my birthday, always a time to look ahead. But this year I’m looking back. This year Mom is not here.

My younger sister’s birthday is the day before mine and we have often spent birthdays together. Logistics did not favor me going to Illinois or my sister coming to Florida this year, but I wish I had made a bigger effort. Not for me. It’s the day before my birthday and I’m already being wined and dined by friends. And I’ve had a number of birthdays on my own where I was the only one at my party.

My sister, however, has never had a birthday that doesn’t include Mom in all her 57 years. And today she was missing both mom and dad.

After caregiving ends: birthday plans, past and future

We didn’t always have parties growing up. I remember our parents taking us to movies with friends and once we went to a state park to mark my birthday. But Mom always made sure both my sister and I had individual celebrations when we were younger, so we would each feel special. She cooked steak for my sister one night and fried chicken for me the next night. We must have each had our own home made cakes, too, because I don’t recall ever blowing candles out on a cake that was half gone.

Mainly, Mom made sure we felt loved on our birthday. We knew the stories of the day of our births. My Mom had told my dad she was in labor and he drove her to the obstetrician’s office. Mom checked in and sat, waiting to be called while my dad kept the car running. Hours went by and she finally went back to the desk to say she didn’t think she could stand the pain anymore. The receptionist had forgotten about her and when the doctor saw her he told her to go right to the hospital. I was born as soon as she got to the hospital. Her roommate from the week-long hospital stay came to mom’s funeral in April after not having been in touch for many years. She wanted to tell me how happy mom was to have had me.

We have already planned to do something different and distracting for the next big holiday without mom–Thanksgiving. We’re both going to our older sister’s home in Arizona. And today we pledged to spend our birthdays together next year. I wish I would have realized sooner that sis needed me and that Mom would have wanted me to be there.

Next year.

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4 Comments to “A sentimental day: birthdays without mom”

  1. EPOCH Senior Living

    What a touching post. I don’t think this is something people really ever “get over,” but rather it gets a little more manageable as the years pass.

  2. constance davis

    this is written beautifully. it is a lovely, heartfelt piece

  3. Helen

    All the “firsts” are horrible after the death of someone you love. After 9 years, I still miss hearing the first “happy birthday of the day from my Mom.

  4. Lila

    My mom used to call me every day on my birthday at 7:46AM reminding me of her joy at the same time I was born. You share the most relatable stories. I think that’s one of the marks of a talented writer.

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