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My Last Birthday Gift To You

Mom's Last Birthday


Today is your birthday.

You left us two weeks ago but today is your birthday.

I’m not angry but I am sad. You’ve been in my life since as long as I can remember, longer even. We both know that I don’t believe in life being fair or unfair, life just ‘is’. Cancer is a terrible disease, a scourge that can ravage the body and take virtually everything away from us. What it can’t take away is who we are or who we should be. Those are ours and ours alone to choose, like choosing to be sad rather than angry. You taught me that.

You taught me to think, to reason before I react. I fought my way through every step of my childhood and too much of my early adulthood, but you were always there to talk me through whatever imagined battle I was fighting. In hindsight, your patience seemed inexhaustible. In reality, you were teaching me to be patient and reason my way through.

You were as giving as you were patient. Staying home with me when I was sick, making those little home-made pizzas that you knew would always put a smile on my face. You were encouraging but never pandered. You were supportive of my ideas but wouldn’t enable me when my ideals overstepped reality. The example you set gave me a foundation, one upon which I could solidly plant my feet. You did your best to keep me grounded and I try my best every day to keep that in mind.

I learned to cook because you showed me how. I learned to sew and to clean and how to do laundry because you showed me how. I learned to garden because you showed me how. Those spider plants you were always doting over with such care, the ones in the woven hangers? Two of them are now hanging in my house. They’re thriving and will continue to do so, just as the flowers you planted in our garden on your last visit are thriving. The hibiscus blossomed for the first time this summer, the same week we had to say goodbye to you.

You didn’t give life to me but you gave me a life. You gave me everything a son could want or need. For that, I will be forever grateful.

Yes, today is your birthday.

But you were the gift.

Rest in peace, Mom.

All my love,

Mom's last birthday

You will be missed…

4 thoughts on “My Last Birthday Gift To You”

  1. A beautiful tribute. Barbara gave us both a life – her light shone in her smile, and will glow in both our hearts forever.

  2. This was the most beautiful tribute to a mom I have ever read. I met your mom once or twice when I was married to your cousin Tim Markle. Your mom was an amazing lady to talk to and she will be greatly missed. My deepest sympathy to you and your dad. And again, your tribute to your mom is from a son who loved his mom with all his heart.

  3. I made it to the blooming hibiscus before the tears fell. A glowing tribute to a woman who you couldn’t meet without wanting to know her better. To those who knew her best, all my love and condolences on the loss of such a bright light in your lives.

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