Today I am particularly sad, the saddest I’ve felt in a while.
November 16th has been a distinctly mournful day for me for five years now, as I struggle to find a way to honor my Mother’s Birthday without her. This year, her birthday does little but remind me of her absence. It magnifies the hole in my heart that no other person, activity, or pint of Ben & Jerry’s could ever fill. A hole so immense, in my worst moments of loneliness and confusion since Nick’s accident, I thought I would fall in and evaporate into nothingness.
I miss my Mommy, and the safety and wholeness I felt when she was around. For eight years before her death, she was a burden to me unlike anything I would wish upon another, but the burden was all mine. It was my identity, my knowingness, my home. I’ve never fully recovered from losing her, having only three brief years of healing and floundering, attempting to make sense of who I am in relation to my Mom’s illness and death, until the day I became what happened to Nick, 18 months ago.
Today I reflect on the impossible but delightful thought that I could have hugged her when I worried most about Nick and our future. I crave the comfort in our silence, the innocence of her raspy laughter, and her familiar loving eyes staring into my soul when I talked. I realize that logistically she couldn’t be alive today. I couldn’t stretch myself so thin to care for both her and Nick simultaneously. Sadly I know she would have lost, despite her being my first love: my infinite desire to rehabilitate Nick being anything but a burden, my hopeful future with him overshadowing the painful past dealing with her.
Happy Birthday to my Mom. She would be 68 today. One of her greatest gifts was teaching me how to love unconditionally and be a selfless, persevering caregiver, skills I’ve undoubtedly refined and put to good use.
Here’s a video I am conflicted about sharing. I surprised her with a motorized wheelchair in February of ’06. She never got the hang of it unfortunately, and ended up passing away just two years later. But the very end of this clip, when she exclaims “FAR OUT!” is so precious to me. That raw excitement was rare for her. I’m so grateful to have captured this moment on camera.