February has arrived and with it comes my birthday. It’s not just another February, nor is it just another birthday. This birthday feels different. You see this is my first one without a mother and without a dad. I am not looking for sympathy. I am not fishing for happy birthday greetings either. I am writing about this because as is usually the case, when I write something out, generally I feel better. And perhaps doing so might help someone else who’s grieving feel better too.
This year, not only will there be no phone call and no card in the mail from my mother, there will be no phone call or card from my dad either. I should have saved a few of those cards.
It’s an odd feeling to realize you are no longer anyone’s child.
Of course, I will always be my mother’s daughter. I will always be my dad’s daughter. Not even death can change that.
I read an article last week that I really appreciated called, “The Grieving Need You Most After the Funeral”. My favorite parts of the article were these two sentences:
Death is a date on the calendar. Grief is the calendar.
I love that – so much truth in those eleven words. And yes, some days I still feel quite lost.
After a certain amount of time passes, it seems you’re supposed to be done with the messy parts of grieving. And so now I am mostly a private sort of griever.
Every date on the calendar is like a container of reminders and with every passing year all the dates, all the containers, continue to fill. Some reminders are pleasant, some not so much.
And every year when February 1st rolls around again, I am reminded that yes, I’m another year older and hopefully wiser too.
But my birthday is also the reminder of the day cancer first rudely interrupted the smoothness of my family’s life. Cancer was the uninvited and very unwelcome intruder that showed up on my birthday in 2004. That was the day my mother told me she found her lump.
Cancer has been lurking around ever since.
For the most part, my birthday memories are wonderful though. I’ve been blessed through the years and I know it.
Linked all together, my birthdays make up part of the timeline that is my life, as do yours, of course.
This year’s birthday will mark my first without a dad as well as without a mother.
Not just another birthday indeed.
If applicable, do you have advice on how to handle no longer being anyone’s child?
How do you feel about the quote I shared?
Do you sometimes grieve quietly because you feel you’re supposed to be “done” now?