Sunday, October 5, 2008
Today is my husband's birthday and it will be his first since his mother died. I remember how "alone" I felt two years ago when I experienced my first birthday after my mother died, and I feel that for him today. In his case its been quite a few years since his mother actually recognized the date, as Alzheimer's Disease slowly took her from us. Perhaps the sting is not quite so sharp for him as it was for me.
My mother was usually the first voice I heard on my birthday. The phone would ring pretty early in the day and she would be on the other end singing "Happy Birthday" in her strong alto voice, which became more thin and wobbly as the years passed. It was her way of acknowledging the fact that this was one day in the year that we alone shared. After I had children of my own I understood that connection much better because I think about each one of my children's births on the anniversary of their days as well. I remember each one vividly, as clear now as they were all those years ago. They are days I celebrate, always. When my mother had me it was a traumatic event, beginning with a hemorrhage during the night and ending with a cesarean section a few hours later. I can only imagine what those memories were like for her.
My mother-in-law raised an amazing son. I will always be grateful to her for the way she instilled in him a sense of right and wrong, of fairness, all tempered with a soft and tender heart. It is a rare combination in a man and I love him for those qualities, among others. I thanked her many times when she was alive. Now I will thank her in my heart - and hope she is still getting the message.