I suppose none of us ever stop thinking about our mother, do we? My mother has been gone for almost nine years, but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t keep her off my mind this week. You see, her birthday was Monday.
She loved birthdays! A friend once said of her, “She seems more like a child than an adult.”
At times, she did.
She lived 85 years, and right up until her last birthday, just a month before she died, I, her only child, made a big deal of her special day.
She was in the hospital that last birthday. I took cupcakes, ice cream and soft drinks, and, with a little help, was able to serve it to her, several of her grandchildren, and a special friend. She had a lot of presents to open and, just like a child, she was so excited she had trouble getting them opened without help.
I’ll never forget the look on her face as she sat up in bed surrounded by colorful ribbons and paper and gifts. A four year old couldn’t have looked any more pleased than my mother did at that moment. Yet, knowing this was almost certainly her last birthday made it a bittersweet occasion. I excused myself long enough to go to the restroom and wipe away the tears I was unable to repress.
Four weeks later, she passed away, without ever enjoying any of her new gifts.
This is one of those memories that delivers pleasure and sadness at the same time. Remembering how she looked on her birthday brings a smile to my lips, but realizing I'll never see her like that again quickly takes it away.
Like love and hate, pleasure and pain seem very close sometimes.