Today, 30 July, is my mother’s birthday. She would have been 89 if she had lived. Instead, she died from lung cancer in 1990 at the far too young of an age of 60 years, a few months after my 24th birthday. I sit here this morning, still trying to recover from a lung infection that has knocked me off my feet, and I wonder so many things.
What if she didn’t get cancer and she had lived?
What if she had at least lived long enough to meet Brendan Bjorn and see this journey we are on?
What would she say? What would she do?
Would she be proud of me as a mother to my own children? Or would she have criticisms to voice?
I miss her. Even after all these years, I miss her.
One of life’s lessons I’ve learned is that the closer we get to our own mortality, the more clearly we understand how truly precious – and fleeting and fragile – is life and the time we have to live it. I realise that’s all been said before, so I risk being cliche, but it is true! And those of us that walk a journey with a child who has a life-limiting illness, understand that poignant lesson all too well.
Life takes each of us on unique journeys, yet, at the core of them all, a common thread unites us – the thread of love. We all smile at joy, shed tears at loss, and long to be loved and love in return. She loved me. And I loved her. Those sparkling, bright blue eyes that would disappear into a squint when she laughed – That’s what I’ll remember most today as I look into the eyes of my own two children. I’ll remember love.
Happy birthday, Mom….and thank you for the lessons you taught to me, in your living and in your dying. Forever and always, I love you.