As many know, today is my Mother’s Birthday. This day always feels strange to me. A yearly reminder of how young she was when she died. The last birthday that was uncelebrated. A another year gone by without her. It is not the hardest of the anniversaries, but perhaps one of the more complex to share. There is the joy of knowing that on this day, many years ago She was born. The awareness that for 50 years on this day – was one of great celebration across a few generations. Mom always loved a good get together. Bonfire if it was nice after riding horses. A scrumptious dinner of her favorites. Sometimes friends, often just family – always a party. Only to be changed on one day forever. Now its infinitely more complex to try to share. The love is shadowed by loss. The joy is held in grief. The smiles tempered by tears of pain that have no end.
Yet it feels significant to share. To hold the awareness of these particular dates. To actively live with the loss and pain instead of it locked away in some deep corner of our minds. Many Red Maples were planted on the Farm in Tennessee and around. We watch these trees (and many others that she loved) grow each year. A reminder of how powerful a Life is even after death. The far-reaching tendrils of love no matter the denseness of the darkness. Her Children growing into adults. The stories told of her passed down as they become Myth. What a Life to have known.
Bittersweet this day of living Memory. To have such joy born from the love of a Woman so strong and beautiful – that even as children we knew we were truly privileged to call her Mom. To have such terrible grief that deadens life itself with the enormity of its weight, the awareness of what humanity is willing to do to one another and in particular, to those who shine the brightest for us. Can we love enough to feel the joy within the pain? Can we stand with integrity of ourselves, to allow us to claim the grief that is there, to not shy away from a pain that is soul deep? I choose to remember as much as I can. To have this ongoing dynamic living memory of her now, and not just then.