Today is my mom's birthday. And it doesn't even matter what number corresponds with it. The only thing important about this day is that about two and half months ago, I didn't think I would celebrate another birthday with my mom. She was failing. Quickly. I knew, she knew it, my father knew it. I was terrified.
Truth is that I don't know what this world is like without my mother in it. I've never experienced a day without her presence in some way in my life. There are days when she's been unavailable that I test myself and see how many times I want to talk to her about something, and the truth is, it's a lot. She was the first person I ever had a relationship with. The first person to love me, hold me, talk to me, hug me. And who I am without her is incomprehensible. It's never existed before.
I find it so odd that a toxic substance is now what's keeping her here. She's been feeling relatively well but for the last couple of weeks. The fatigue has set in, and she's seeing some skin problems that are side effects of the chemo. Her blood pressure is little out of whack early in the week. On the days she feels well, though, I can almost forget that she has cancer for a brief moment. But just for a very brief moment... the denial of the hard facts never lasts too long.
But this morning, I woke with this gratitude that I've never felt in my life. A thankfulness for this day, one I thought I wouldn't have, one I thought we would be robbed of. Another birthday. Another day with her. Another birthday card to sign. A lunch with chit chat. A mom here in the flesh, one I can experience as moms are meant to be. I know it won't continue on as long as I'd like it to, but I will deal with that when the time comes. And, even once she's gone, I still feel like there will be this undeniable presence in my soul of her. This part of her she has handed down to me over these almost 35 years I've had the honor of being her daughter.
Happy birthday, Mama. I love you!
Prayers are coveted, friends, as my mother will have a scan on Thursday to see if the pictures match her improving blood work.