Monday, March 9, 2009

The Birthday Celebration

As I click onto my blog tonight I realize that I haven’t written since January. I have noticed in life that I am moved to write when I am happy or angry or reflective, but I have seldom written during periods of true sadness. This winter has been a long and worrisome season. There have been health worries, serious financial worries, and a general feeling of anxiety, fatigue and overwhelming stress.

Tonight, though, I am writing in sadness. Tomorrow is my mother’s birthday – March 10 – and it brings with it memories of the woman who was my source of unconditional love and the model I emulated throughout my own motherhood journey. Each year on her birthday I think of her and miss her. As I raised my own children, I was disappointed that she was not the attentive grandmother I had envisioned, and she and I did not spend as much time together as I would have liked, but once my children were older, each year on her birthday we would plan a special outing for the two of us. Some years we strolled the streets of Saratoga and ate lunch at Professor Moriarty’s. Other years we visited Stockbridge and Great Barrington and had lunch at some special little restaurant. We had tea in a Ballston Spa shop one year and lunch by the fire at a cozy apple orchard.

My mother died in 2001, and my sister and I, who had never been close, comforted each other and developed a strong and loving friendship. We continued the birthday tradition. Each year, as close to March 10 as possible, we celebrated my mother’s birthday together. Usually we carried on the tradition of lunch in Saratoga or Stockbridge. Some years time was limited and we would enjoy a local lunch together and toast our mother with a glass of good wine. And, we celebrated our relationship.

Little did I know that last year would be our final luncheon celebration. This year my sister is dying of cancer. Later this week, I will sit with her in her living room at lunchtime and we can reminisce a bit as she picks at her food, and we will remember those happier times – but my heart is not in it – my heart is broken.

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