Grief Handbook, Part IX

I am terrible at remembering birthdays.

A conversation with one of my best friends last night, via text, went something like this:

Me: “So your birthday is March 23.”

Her: “LOL March 25.”

Me: “One year I will get this right!”

We’ve been best friends since 1990.

I, too, forgot my parents’ birthdays over the years, on several occasions.  I’m not very good with dates, you see, which is why I never minored in history.  Oh, I have the Victorian era’s range down, 1837-1901, but that was beat into my memory by years of teaching.  I teach multiple classes a semester.  Birthdays only come about once a year.

Last year, I forgot Mom’s birthday.  I even sent a card the week before, but forgot to call her the day of.  That conversation was similar, too, in that we had discussed such things for years now.

Me: “What are you doing today?”

Mom: “Is there anything you want to tell me?”

Me, somehow, assuming even in my 30s that I’m in trouble: “Nooooo…?”  pause.  “Oh, damn!  Happy birthday!”

I was determined, you see, to remember her birthday this year.

I did remember it, because she had died three months before.  I made damn sure we were busy all day, driving me back from New Orleans to Indiana.

Dad’s birthday is coming up very soon, and I’ve sent him several birthday cards, and a birthday present, because I was worried he wouldn’t get any.  And I realized, too, that I’m now a motherless child, and while Dads are amazing at many things, they’re not so great at sending cards, you know?  That’s not a Dad thing.

That’s a Mom thing.

And I will miss my Mom on her birthday, and, like a selfish child, I will miss her on mine.





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