In my last post of the dark inner workings of my mind I covered the year one mark of moving to Alaska. Since it was the end of September that means my next one would cover my Birthday. I have a real love – hate (mostly hate) relationship with my Birthday. I’ve lost quite a few very important animal friends on or around my Birthday. Including my first dog Maggie. Tends to put a damper on things. The year I turned 20 I was up north at college. Dad was at work on the Slope (Arctic Circle of Alaska), Mom was home with all the kids who were still in grade school (Jackie’s senior year). My Birthday that year fell on a Tuesday. Mom was planning on driving up, spending a few days with me on the weekend. We’d do dinner, movies, shop and have a blast. But the kids were very busy with school, some of the little kids were not doing particularly well that week, the older boys were giving her some teenage crap and she was majorly stressing over leaving them home with no one but Jackie and Jeremy in charge. I had tests I had to study for so I convinced her that we didn’t have to do something this year, that turning 20 really wasn’t that cool. I would sadly be missing her 50th Birthday in November (but I would make up for it when I visited for Thanksgiving). Now 21… that would be a year we had to live it up. Besides she would be 51 a bit later and THAT was over the hill! Not 50! So the upcoming year we would make up for both events and go nuts. She was pretty emotional about missing my Birthday even though she had to admit it was probably for the best with the kids, and sent me this amazing care package and left a few teary messages. I felt a little bad about convincing her to stay home after all..but we would make up for it next year we had already started planning. The thing is, we never got to 21 together. That year was our last Birthdays together. And we spent both of them apart due to something as stupid as school and schedules.
I spent my 21st Birthday scrubbing floors by hand with my BEST of the best friends – Lorien to keep me company in my grief. The rest of the family had gone to Maryland for the annual Fall visit and I had opted to stay and take care of the animals since I would be wallowing in my grief anyways. I can’t say I remember much of that week. I didn’t trust myself to drink and I don’t think I slept. I just wanted to die. I had quite a few well-meaning friends promise me that they would take me out and cheer me up on my 21st Birthday no matter how much I protested in the early months after Mom died but by the time September had rolled around they promptly forgot those empty promises. I secretly had hoped that at least one would remember..but only Lorien and my wonderful Brothers gave me gifts and insisted on making me smile (My extended family called and sent cards too). My 21st Birthday was just haunted memories, false pacts, bitter disappointments and forgotten words. I have never hated a day just because in such a way. I wanted to wipe away my very existence and never be born on that wretched day. My poor Father at a loss of how to console me simply wrote a check while trying to hold back his tears. One has never wanted a sappy card full of loving and touching words that only the best Mothers can write as badly I did that year. For if I had that would meant the whole didn’t end and I hadn’t brought such evil into our lives. But the reality is that I will never get another card on my Birthday beautifully written from my Mother.
My 22nd Birthday was spent in Bethel Alaska wandering the tundra alone. The trial had wrapped up a whopping 4 days before and hardly a soul remember what year it was let lone what day. I got one present that year – an Irish Coffee from my uncle Thomas. (Lorien may have sent me a book too now that I think about it). I was in too much pain to really care. And certainly wasn’t going to hold it against everyone else, it wasn’t their fault that the dumb state decided the last week of September was the day to visit Hell.
I wish I could say I went crazy this year. But there just isn’t anything special about turning 23. Most of my friends didn’t even know when my Birthday was and the rest forgot. At war with myself on whether or not I should try to ignore it completely or smile and find something decent out of the damn day I waited till the last minute to tell people I wanted to go out for drinks (something low-key) which resulted in 3 great friends who came through. Ironically enough it wasn’t the friends who have known me for years or even like to go out a bunch. Stefanie, Emi and Katie (Williams) were my three heroes that weekend. Funny how the true friends always show up in the least expected ways. We had sushi, we had drinks and laughed. I was proud of myself for asking. I only got two phone calls aside from Lorien and my family to wish me a happy Birthday. Lorien thinks it’s because I give people a death glare should they even mention my Birthday to me (she is probably right) but I can’t say it gives me reason to think I should try to change things since it matters little to world in the end. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see what the war I have with myself results in next year.
It feels like it’s rather dumb to have such a deep regret of how I spent my last Birthday without my Mother when she was still with us. But I can honestly say that eats me and I despise every memory of that 20th Birthday. I think it was because my Birthday meant the world to Mom. She has so much love for each of us Kids that our Birthdays meant the world to her. Funny what ends up mattering in the end.
I couldn’t bring myself to write about on my actual Birthday so I’m writing a belated post about it. And for the curious ones it’s September 30th.
I wrote this quote over the weekend and found a picture of myself that Lorien took the August before the trial and my ex ass hole broke up with me and I left for Alaska. That trip (the picture was taken in NY state in the Catskills MT’s) was the only time I felt okay since Mom died to this day. I wish I could hope and dream like I had begun again in those few weeks before returning to the mess in Tennessee. But life squashed that as it has so many other things for me. The words are mine and mine only. The picture is of me in August 2010.