Thursday, December 5, 2013

Happy Birthday Mom

Today would have been my mom's 80th birthday, had she lived to see it. 

My sister, my dad and I are going to visit her grave tonight and talk to her, make sure she knows we're thinking of her. 

I still think about her just about every day. I'm not sure if this is normal, but I still have this feeling in the back of my mind that she's present, that her humor and warmth and vitality are right there somewhere. 

Almost that I could access her if I really wanted to. That connection with her was so woven into the fabric of my being, so foundational to my existence, so essential to the cohesiveness of my identity and my family and the universe, that her disappearance is impossible. 

Maybe this is what they call denial. Or maybe she really didn't disappear, maybe, as in my dreams, she is still present, though in a different form. 

I know this is not standard fare for a dog blog that generally deals in paw behaviors, ear infections, and hiking adventures, but I somehow want to put all this out there. This intimate experience of death, of losing someone who felt like a part of my very being, is uncharted territory for me. Maybe someone else will read something that resonates, and find comfort in knowing that others have undergone the same experiences. 

I've been decorating my house for Christmas, and enjoying the process of taking out all the incredible crafty Christmas creations my mom made over the years. The angels, the ornaments, the wreaths, the mosaics. 

I don't have my Mom's artistic eye, but I love having all her beautiful things around. 

I'm having a gathering on Saturday to celebrate my mom, and guests can take home one of my mom's creations in exchange for a donation to the Washington Humane Society and AWARE, a no-kill sanctuary in Guatemala. 

It will not be a somber affair, as my mom was far from a somber person!

We'll play a little music, drink a little spiced rum, and give Fozzie some practice in not being a complete raving lunatic when guests come over. 

Whaddya think, Mom? Do you approve? Or do you think we're all a bunch of complete nitwits?

I hope you approve. I think you would. 

And I hope you feel the love that still surrounds thoughts of you each time they arise. 

And I hope you're flying free, as joyful as you were in life, surrounded by green growing things and birds that sing and twitter and cheep and infused with the vibrant life force you nourished while you were here. 


  1. Almost that I could access her if I really wanted to. That connection with her was so woven into the fabric of my being, so foundational to my existence, so essential to the cohesiveness of my identity and my family and the universe, that her disappearance is impossible.

    Thank you so much for posting this. December 1st would have been my mom's 61st birthday - I lost her in 2010 - so she has been on my mind especially, too. This was her favorite time of year and I have so many memories of making crafts, decorating the tree and inventing our own humorous carol lyrics.

    Did your mom love birds? Was there some connection to South America? Our mothers may have had these things in common...

    Dogs were always a part of our life and my dog-keeping philosophies come from her so I find this not at all out of place. You may have inspired me to write my own tribute sometime this season.

    1. Thank you Lara, and so sorry for your loss. My Mom loved birds--boidies, as she used to call them--and she was always feeding them and watching them and talking to them. She had no particular association with Guatemala, but she was supportive of me when I went there to volunteer at a wildlife rehabilitation center and at a sanctuary for domestic animals. You are right, my love for dogs definitely comes from my mom and the way she raised me to appreciate them and scratch them intensely :)

      I hope you do write a tribute to your mom--it is healing to do so. Let me know when you do, OK? My original tribute to my mom is here

  2. Happy Birthday.....memories are good

  3. Happy Birthday to your Mom! Your feelings ARE normal. You feel her around you because she IS around you, in a different form, but she is there!

  4. I would have picked out the same quote as Lara Elizabeth. It touched something very deep.

    And of course your mother's creativity and grace still exist. As you said yourself, she's "woven into the fabric of your being."

    My husband lost his mom a few years ago. Christmas was her favorite holiday and we spend a lot of time telling stories about her as we decorate the tree.

    I'm glad you're creating a ritual that helps you celebrate your mom. I hope you find the time thinking about her a blessing and don't miss her too much.

  5. The way you've described feeling sounds totally normal, at least in my experience. I lost my mom in 2007, and even now I think about her almost every day.

    Your post really touched me - I'm sending a giant hug your way, sweetie.

  6. Hi Kirsten, it's okay. You're "normal" - you were just lucky enough to have a closer relationship with your mom than some of us. Who your parents were or are, is infused in your being. My dad's a more generous person because of his dad. We take a little bit from each of our parents. My dad can still hear his dad's voice. And with certain people, he can see their aura, weird huh? He saw my mom's dad's aura - how it was yellow instead of white and how it flickered a lot in the summer before his death that winter.

  7. Seeing as your mother was such an intricate part of your life and in you becoming who you are, it's perfectly normal for you to feel this way. Those who are part of us never truly leave us, they live on in us and in the memories and values they shared.

    I'm sending you a giant hug (though I know it's rather late.)


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