Thursday is an odd day for me – it would have been a 72nd birthday for my mother, Jenny; if she were still with us.
For my mother, who at the end of her life suffered from diabetes and other ailments, didn’t make it past 66. This is the sixth year that I don’t have to worry about getting her a gift or trying to plan some sort of birthday outing that she’d be able to enjoy.
WHICH WASN’T ALWAYS so easy, since at the end her ability to move about freely was limited. There was just so much she could no longer do.
As it is, I find myself remembering that last birthday celebration in which my late brother, Christopher, and I had her with us.
She was always a big fan of seafood, although any time we tried taking her to nicer restaurants she invariably found something about the experience to dislike. In some cases, the food was just so rich and heavy that she couldn’t keep it down.
That last birthday, she literally insisted on my brother and I taking her to a Red Lobster restaurant – figuring she could handle that experience. And actually, she wound up having a good time.
IT DOES GIVE me some relief to know that my brother and I gave our mother one final birthday experience. Although I wonder what she would have thought of the memorial service we held for her one year later.
For although she died just prior to the Thanksgiving Day holiday in 2010 (the last bit of conversation I heard from her was literally an accounting of all the shopping she had to do in coming days to be able to prepare a holiday meal), we wound up gathering on what would have been Birthday number 67 to pay tribute to her memory.
And now, as the years pass, we’re at what would have been Birthday 72. I find myself wishing I could actually endure the experience of taking her to a Red Lobster again just so I could have a few more minutes of time with her.
But, of course, that will not happen. We all will come and go without any sense of exactly how long we will exist on this planet. It was a lesson that was pounded into my brain during my early days as a reporter-type person as I watched many people senselessly killed.
AND I’M FINDING it reinforced even further with the loss last year of my brother, who when I was going through his belongings in recent weeks to decide what to keep and what to throw away I wound up stumbling onto the belongings that he managed to keep from our mother.
As I write this commentary, I’m fiddling with a watch that he kept solely because it belonged to my mother. It really doesn’t work any longer, and common sense says I ought to dump it.
Although I find I just can’t bring myself to do so – even though it means I’m likely accumulating even more junk that someone is going to have to weed through when that day comes (perhaps many years from now, who knows when?) when I die.
But for now, I’m spending a day Thursday in remembrance of my mother, the woman who in many ways sacrificed so many potential opportunities for herself out of a hope that my brother and I would benefit.
I SHOULD ACKNOWLEDGE one fact that my mother always took pride in; she had a fraternal twin brother. As in my Uncle Johnny.
Which means he’d also be turning 72 on Thursday and be worthy of a “Feliz Cumpleanos” greeting, if not for the fact he passed away some 14 years ago.
I’ll admit to finding some peace in the thought that the two of their souls are probably together, watching out for, and getting on each other’s nerves as they did in life – but coming to each other’s defense if they sensed any outsider was a threat to either.
Meanwhile, I go about my daily routine after wishing both of their spirits a Happy Birthday.