When your mother is gone and it’s her birthday, you wear her dress to work even though you long ago stopped wearing dresses and traded shaving your legs for five minutes of extra sleep.
When your mother is gone and it’s her birthday, you put on stockings to wear with her dress that you have to unearth from the back of your underwear drawer where all of the pretty frilly delicate stuff that you also gave up on is, and when you put the stockings on they have a run and you remember how you used to be able to go down to your mother’s office in the building you both worked in and ask her if you could have her emergency pair and she would grumble but always gave them to you eventually because that was how things worked between you guys.
When your mother is gone and it’s her birthday you wear her necklace too, the diamonds lined up on a cross, but that’s nothing new because you have worn it every single day since your sister called you from her room and said “would you like something to wear for the funeral?” and you knew it had to be the cross even though you rarely see the inside of a church and you do question a God who would let someone feel so dark and desperate that death seemed a reasonable solution.
When your mother is gone and it’s her birthday, you wake up and for the first time it’s light because the day before we changed the clocks and everything feels a little brighter and less desperate and you want to apologize for being rather insufferable for the last few weeks and yelling at your family for doing irritating things like chewing and breathing and you feel a little silly for having spent the weekend trying to convince your husband that maybe you guys should move to a small island where no one knows your story and you can be known as the woman who finally learned how to bake or the woman who hosts fabulous dinner parties instead of the woman who is a little bit broken on the inside after her mother’s suicide.
When your mother is gone and it’s her birthday you ask your oldest to take your picture because you can’t take selfies without the extra skin under your chin being much too prominent and he tells you your smile is derp-y and you say “Look kid, all that matters is that I’m smiling.”
Happy birthday Mom. ❤️
Liz is a writer, blogger, teller of stories, believer in truth, and mama to four. She shares her stories on lizpetrone.com and all over the internet. She can also be found on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.