Thursday, April 7, 2011

Happy Birthday

Mom, you would have turned 79 today. As has been the case for each of your birthdays this past nearly eleven years, it's been a bit of a rough week for me. I'm trying for a lighter touch today because, well to be quite frank, I've been on kind of a downer lately and it's getting pretty old. If you were here, you would be getting impatient with me and saying things like "enough already, snap out of it, move on." I'd be tempted to listen to you, but then my therapist would be irritated with me.

So for today at least, on your birthday, I'd like to catch you up on a few things I would tell you if you were here, things that I think would make you smile. If you were here, I think that you would laugh as I fill you in on things and sometimes you would say, "You silly arse." I loved it when you called us kids silly arses. Do you know that you almost always said it with a smile on your face?

Yes, I think that you would be quite surprised to learn what's been going on with me since you left. For example:
  • I'm still not much of a cook, and I still have no interest in baking;
  • I still haven't had a drink and it's been nearly 24 years (I helped myself to some of your medication a week after you died though, so I changed my "clean" date to May 11, 2000);
  • I finished my PhD, but don't really give a shit about it because I think the main reason I did it was to make you proud of me, and I realized half-way into it that you were probably proud of me anyway. I finished it anyway, have a huge student loan.
  • An interesting piece of that is that I defended my PhD thesis in the hospital one week after they removed my cancerous colon, which is kind of a hoot of a story to tell people;
  • I have a garden now and it's quite lovely, but I still kill houseplants on a regular basis;
  • I wear long johns all winter long, fancy ones with lace at the bottom (under my jeans and dress pants);
  • Soul Mate started drinking black tea in your memory after you died, and now he is addicted to it. We don't just drink your favourite (Red Rose) anymore, in fact we buy loose tea now, at a cost of about $25 a pound. It would freak you out to know that we go through a pound about every two weeks.
  • First Born has inherited yours and my voracious appetite for reading and collecting books. She still loves ribs for dinner more than anything, especially her Poppa's;
  • Yoga Kid still reads mostly non-fiction. She is now a vegetarian, so she's not into anything we ever cook around here anymore, but eats a lot of quinoa (I know, you have no idea what that is, do you?);
  • I now hate the colour forest green because I overdosed on it so so much in the 90s;
  • I drive a Nissan Cube now, you would laugh at it and tell me it's funny looking (because it is) but I love it;
  • My favourite thing in the world to do is sit by the ocean and think and drink tea or coffee, and I often think of you and how much I miss you, while I am there;
  • We are no longer landlocked, but moved to an island so the ocean is only about a 7.5 minute drive away in my funny looking Cube;
  • I still can't carry a tune or draw, but I am learning to knit a wicked slipper;
  • I still miss you so much sometimes that I cry until my face is red and blotchy and snot drops drip onto my chest or into my ears if I am lying down;
  • I eat crumpets with jam (in memory of you) even when I am trying not to eat wheat or flour;
  • I sometimes amaze myself by not crying when I am thinking or writing about missing you. Like right now.
I'm going to keep trying to celebrate a "happy" birthday for you today, Mom. I know you would like that, for both of us. Before I go, I want to share a picture that your sweet nephew created and sent to Baby Sister and I. To be honest, it kind of creeped me out a bit at first, but I love the idea of it. That you are there, watching over me and all of your loved ones, from somewhere just beyond the ocean's horizon, is a comfort.

I love you, Mom.


  1. Dawn!! Brilliant; that was such a beautiful piece LOVED how you shared with her where you're at, then we got to learn more about you!
    Dawn, I'll be writing this letter one day - but today, I can't even imagine such a task - my mom is alive and well and I DO NOT take her for granted!
    Hey, love the new digs around here! Nice work..
    Big hugs extended all the way from Minnesota!!

  2. Dawn this is beautiful! Your writing always moves me...

  3. This is beautiful. A wonderful way to remember and honour your Mom.

  4. Thanks, everybody. It was a good day.