Yesterday was my birthday and it did not unfold as expected. I spent almost every waking hour crying (I held it together at dinner and was done the waterworks by about 9:30pm) and it wasn't even regular crying, my friend. It was deep, soul, "can't even stop if I wanted to" crying. If you watch New Girl, think of Jess in her job interview when she saw the little doggie in a teacup and then times that by a whole lot and imagine a steady flow of this (not so) adorable sobbing for hours on end. I was a human faucet. That was my day in a nutshell. And no, I'm not depressed, but I had a really, really sad day.
If you're on my personal Facebook page, you already know what happened and saw it unfold in real time, but if you didn't, this is how things went down.
Leading up to my 39th birthday, I was pumped (as was evident in my multiple updates about it). I love my birthday. I love celebrating life and I love that one day a year that's meant just for me. And to the surprise of my closest friends, this was actually the very first year that I didn't make any plans with my ladies because I genuinely wanted to spend the day with myself. Just like New Year's, I was looking forward to reflecting, writing, being online and celebrating in my own little way. I wanted to fill my heart up with lotsa self-love and feel proud of all I've accomplished so far and fully receive all of the love that was coming my way.
I planned to share my first of many updates right at midnight and paragraphs were already being written in my mind about why I'm so grateful for this birthday especially, but neither of those things happened.
As you all know, I had a very tumultuous relationship with my mother while she was alive. And over the past number of months or year (I'm not certain), there has been a lot of healing going on inside of me with regards to our relationship. I have had a few significant and healing dreams involving her that I've written about here, and bit by bit I've grown closer to my mama in the sky. I even publicly acknowledged her birthday in December, which was a first for me beyond the year she passed in 2009. I was even a bit teary when I posted this birthday pic of her and I that day.
The day before my birthday this year, I posted a few photos of my mother (see below), even one of her pregnant with me. I was feeling very connected to her, more so than I did when she was living, and the tears were already starting to flow. I was feeling things I don't normally feel towards my mother, and it felt so beautiful.
But as the hours passed and were leading up to my birthday, I wasn't feeling so wonderful. Nor was I excited. I began to feel quite overwhelmed and I had no idea why. I even deactivated my personal account at about 2am on my birthday because I didn't want anything coming my way. I wanted to crawl in a hole and avoid the upcoming day completely. This made no sense to me. One of my favourite parts of each birthday is all the cyber love so why was I cutting it off? I don't know, but that's what I needed at the time. (I reactivated it at about 11am when I realized how much I needed the love that this day would bring).
I woke up and my emotions hit me like a brick. The tears started to pour out and I had no idea why. A few hours later I texted Melanie saying, "I hate this day with all my heart." I meant it. Shortly after that I posted, "It's normal to spend your birthday crying under the covers, right? Because that's been my day so far."
I googled "sad on my birthday" to see what the heck was going on because I had never experienced something like this. I was so happy the day before! And after reading other people's experiences, I didn't feel any closer to understanding why I was so sad because the reasons listed did not apply to me. From what I read, many people get sad because they dread getting older or they feel like they haven't accomplished what they planned to by that age or their expectations weren't met in terms of how others should have celebrated their day or they feel pressured to be happy when they are not. That kinda thing.
But I know I have lived my life beautifully and as deeply as any human can, and I don't have hang ups on numbers or aging (read how I think we should be measured here), although I have major issues with how our society perceives this natural process, and there's no way I could feel let down by others on my birthday because I know how loved I am each day by those who matter to me.
It wasn't until I was in Melissa's car on our way to dinner (she basically demanded that I get out of bed and get ready to be picked up despite my tears) that I realized every tear was me grieving the loss of my mama. Melissa suggested it and I knew she was right.
I did not cry when my mom died. I definitely cried during the last week of her life as I came to the realization that I was never, ever going to have the kind of relationship with my mother that I had always dreamed of and hoped for, but I was grateful for the healing that we did do while we were together for that final week. She apologized for many things, including not protecting me as a child from the sexual abuse (within her family) and she also acknowledged what a great mother I was to Paige and commended me for breaking the cycle.
When she took her last breath, I felt a huge sense of relief. I did not feel sad. I felt proud of what she and I accomplished together and happy that we could both be free now.
I never had the experience of missing her. Ever. She did not cross my mind much for many years, except when it felt relevant to something I was writing about. That's how not connected I felt to my mother. When she died, I felt done. And I was glad to be done. She was the most challenging part of my life and I did not want even one moment more of it.
But yesterday I felt everything more than ever before. Because I have recently grown to feel positively towards my mom, I could not ignore the fact that I am motherless. That she is no longer here. That the woman who brought me into this world is not here to see how well I've managed within it, despite everything. And don't get me wrong, I would not want the mom I knew to be here with me under any circumstances, but my mama in the sky...that's the mom I have grown to love. My real mother underneath all her pain. I love that mother and she means the world to me.
And even as I write this, I know in my heart that I have not lost her. She is still here. But yesterday I could finally grieve properly. I had healed enough and released enough to finally be able to just feel what wasn't safe to feel while she was alive (my mom mocked me when I cried - even at the hospital days before she passed) so this was a long time coming.
P.S. You can join the conversation here :)
REMEMBERING MY MAMA
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