I had a very nice birthday.
I spent some time alone with D while Lotus was at daycare.
I read a good book.
We had dinner at Benihana with a coupon and while it took us a while to get the check (seriously over 20 minutes!) we had a great time.
The cake Lotus and D made for me was amazing. Seriously delicious and I have been eating way too much of it.
And while I felt mom's absence--I felt her presence too.
I felt it when Lotus sang me a magnificently off-key happy birthday song.
I felt it when I ate my birthday cake--as this is her recipe.
I felt it when I allowed myself to be happy--and when I allowed myself to grieve a little bit.
Mom and I seldom talked about what would happen if the treatments didn't work--except one time.
That day I went with her to chemo and we talked about a lot. I said how I remembered when a family member lost her mother and how the grief took over. Mom gave me that look and her tone was severe--harsh even. I remember her next words as if she branded them on my brain.
"Don't you dare mourn me like that. Don't. You. Dare. You are not honoring me. You are not honoring my memory. Mourn--okay. Say Kaddish. Cry. That's fine. Then you dry your eyes and you hug that little girl that you waited so long to hold. You tell her about me. You tell her what you learned from me. You show her. You don't come to the grave with me, you turn around and let me go."
She might have said more but the doctor came in with the chemo and then we talked about other things.
Yesterday I ate mom's birthday cake. The one she taught me how to make--and I taught D. He baked it with Lotus.
Yesterday I went to the mirror and I smiled--and I saw my mom's lousy teeth in my head--and my smile is a mix of her smile and dad's.
Yesterday I mourned, I cried. I laughed too. I sang. I smiled. I ate.
I think mom would have been proud.