The thing about grief is that there is a part of you that just wants to forget, and another part that never wants to let go. It is a constant battle. Some days it is easy to keep things in check, but other days are just hard. Anniversaries and birthdays are some of the biggest triggers.
Yesterday was my Mom’s birthday. She should have turned 66-years old. She will forever be 49. Neither statement seems possible or plausible even. The dead don’t age, and yet life goes on. Thinking about that for too long will make your head spin.
I will say that in some ways I did better than I have most years. I got up. I got dressed. I stayed busy. I even baked a cake. I didn’t know what else to do. We celebrate what we can.
Twenty-three years ago, B and I went shopping at the mall. I was trying to find a birthday gift for my Mom. I don’t remember why, but I was angry with her. I am sure that deep down I just wanted her to stop. I wanted her disease to go away. I was tired of sharing her, and tired of fighting.
But there we were in this mall with its glaring lights, surrounded by aimless people and the unique smell of appetizing disgust of the food court. For some reason we decided to go into the toy shop. On one of the shelves we spied a little penguin. I am sure we picked him up and played with him. The next thing I know we were back home, sans present, but with a stuffed penguin who technically shares this day with my mother.
And then the other day hits me. The day before. The alternate universe in which we are planning the birthday party of a three-year old. I amazingly got through that too.
Today I felt exhausted and scattered. I didn’t check half of the things on my to-do list (although I did make one). It was just another day.