Last week was my mum’s birthday. She would have been 62 years old. It feels so surreal to think that because she never aged past 54 in real life. She died of cancer 8 years ago, right before Mother’s Day. Since then Mother’s Day, her birthday and the anniversary of her death have been some of the hardest days to get through. At Christmas and my birthday and other important days, her missing presence is less intense, and I can distract myself fairly easily.
Every year on my mum’s birthday I call my sister. We talk briefly about what has been happening in our very different lives and then I tell her I love her before I hang up. We never mention my mum, even though we both know what day it is and why I am calling. It is easier not to talk about what we are still grieving about 8 years down the track.
This year was different. L and I went to our Ob appointment and met up with our friend T for brunch. T’s mum and my mum were friends in highschool and I have known her my entire life. T, L and I chatted about the baby, work, family, health issues and other stuff. We love T – and it was just so nice for the three of us to catch up together properly.
The next day I realised my phone had been blocked because I forgot the pay the bill. So when I paid the phone and the messages came through from the day before I got one from T telling me she had talked to her mum who’d reminded her that it was my mum’s birthday and she was sorry she hadn’t said anything at brunch. Except that for the first time in 8 years I forgot too. I didn’t spend the days leading up to it with a tight feeling in my chest and something catching in my throat. I didn’t stare at the date every time I wrote it for work. I didn’t count down the hours until bed so the day would be over. I didn’t make the obligatory awkward phone call to my sister.
And I feel ok about that.