Barbara McClay’s birthday is today.
Facebook tells me this and asks if I want to write on her timeline. Of course I want to wish my mother-in-law a happy day, so I click to her page. Upon arrival, I am also told she is 82. This hits me in the gut with unexpected tears.
Ten years I won’t get with my mom. She died shortly after 72. We are over.
And this is grief. Some days the memories are gentle and sweet. Others they sneak up beside you only to smack the side of your head bringing swift and copious tears.
This part of July still bears innocence when one year ago today memories pop up on my phone. There was no urgency to grab all of the normal time you can because this is all going to flip on its head in a few short weeks.
I didn’t know what was coming.
In fact, I didn’t blog at all last July. I checked. I didn’t write about the camping trip or kayak date or what Mom brought back for me from Michigan. I didn’t record the mundane work I did in my basement studio while Mom worked in her office above me.
I didn’t share that we had a coffee break together or laughed about something silly or that she helped me open a wallflower plugin that I couldn’t quite get by myself. It was all just regular, ordinary. Nothing special.
When you lose someone you love there’s disorientation, coming undone, reorientation, remembering.
In this space of reorientation I am trying to embrace and name honestly the reality of what just happened. I am trying to remember back so that I can look forward. What happened is my mom died. She left. Our time together expired.
And today there is still time with Barbara. So I text her and plan to see her after dinner when she brings over cake and we celebrate her 82 years of life and the gift that she is to the world.
Happy Birthday, Mom McClay! I love you! I’m glad you are here and that there is still time to spend together playing Pokemon-Go and eating all the cake we want. 😉