Birthdays. Days set side to commemorate when someone special to us entered the earth. We celebrate with gifts and cards, parties and dinners, cakes and candles, songs and wishes.
From the first glance of our newborn’s squishy face, the day they appeared becomes a day on the calendar marked with stars and exclamation points.
But what about when that someone has left the earth? What do we earthy vessels do with the day? That day we telephoned and sent cards and wrapped gifts and made cakes?
Today is my momma’s birthday.
She once said that we all know our birthdays but the anniversary of our death passes every year and we never know it. Her words left me feeling uneasy and strangely somber. Maybe it was a foreshadowing. Or maybe it was just Momma.
I wonder if birthdays are celebrated in Heaven. Or if it doesn’t matter anymore because the true birthday would be the day someone enters Heaven.
That same day we think of as the death day. The other day on the stone. The day after the dash.
Today is my momma’s fifth birthday in Heaven. My fifth one without her here.
The fifth time I won’t call her. The fifth time we won’t be up on the weekend to visit.
The fifth time I won’t apologize for not getting a card in the mail on time. The fifth time I won’t sit and write her a letter instead, letting her know how much I love her.
So I’ll sit here and cry and tell anyone willing to read how much I love her.
But I can never say “loved” like I hear people say referring to those who have passed on.
Because I still love her as much as I ever did.
The little girl me loves her as I look up while she puts her lipstick on me, then teaches me how to blot.
The teenage me loves her as we go shopping and sit around the den laughing with my friends.
The young adult me loves her as she watches me go out into the world all while holding on loosely. And yelling, “Don’t forget your lipstick!”
The young wife me loves her as she tells me how she loves her new son.
The new mommy me loves her as she kisses her grandbabies’ tiny heads.
The grown up me loves her as one of my best friends.
My card to Heaven would say:
Happy Birthday Momma!! The earth was a better place because you were here. I’m so thankful to have had you with me. And more thankful that I know where you are now. I love you. Forever and always, Vic