My mother would have been 63 today, six months and a week after she died by suicide. I knew that today wouldn't be a day like any other but I didn't really know what it would be like or what I would write here.
My bereavement group counselor told us that we don't stop loving someone when they die and that it's normal and good to celebrate the person's birthday. She said that the anniversary date of their death is a time to mourn their passing but that the anniversary date of their birth - their birthday - is a time to celebrate the life they lived. I don't know how to do that.
One of my sisters has a beautiful post on the things our mom made for herself, us, and others. When my mom was alive, if I wasn't in Edmonton, I'd call her and we'd chat. I looked forward to these calls because I don't talk on the phone often and it was special to me to call her. Last year we talked for a long time and it's one of the happier memories I have of her. But if I can't call her or write to her, what do I do? Talk about her, I guess.
My mom wasn't all that good with people but she was so smart and she loved to learn things. She was so good at using her hands to create things: tatted lace, knitted garments, hand-quilted quilts, crocheted afghans, sewn clothes, dyed fabric. She spent many, many hours designing and knitting fair isle samples just to see what they'd look like. My love of lace, textiles, and knitting comes from her. I used to sit with her and watch her create these items while we chatted.
She also used to work in the garden - we had a vegetable garden when I was growing up and she always planted annual sweet peas. Eventually she turned most of the yard into a wildflower garden, which brought butterflies to the backyard. She'd often sit with me in the backyard and we'd talk and look at the flowers while I smoked. Lilacs were her favourite flower; we have miniature lilacs and their smell reminds me of my mom. I know she'd have liked them. She wouldn't have liked the fact that these plants are all topiaried - she liked plants and hedges in their natural state.
She loved and was most comfortable around cats. Her favourite cat, Smokie, we got when some neighbourhood kids came to my mom and told her about this kitten that other kids had put in a PCB barrel and were throwing things at it. My mom rescued that kitten and he was with her for many, many years. There were other cats along the way, too - so many that it would take a few minutes for me to name them all.
I miss my mom so much. She wasn't always nice, but she was my mom and I am the person I am today because of her. Happy birthday, mom.