I laid in her (Meagan’s) bed at bedtime and she asked me why we didn’t have a fun birthday party for me. We did have cake, (thanks Aunt Denise!), but that was it. No presents this year, no big hoopla… and for those of you who know me, I am all about birthdays. She wanted to know why no one got me presents, why we didn’t even invite anyone over and have a fun time. She just broke my heart.
The above paragraph was written by me, 7 years ago. My son had just been diagnosed with brain cancer. We had been in the hospital since April 21 and were discharged on April 29, for the first time. This was one day before my birthday. April 30 came and went that year. I felt blessed to have my baby boy home with all of us, even if for just a short couple of days, but I was physically and emotionally spent from the roller coaster we were thrown on less than two weeks prior. I didn’t have the energy to celebrate my birthday with all of the happenings surrounding us. It seemed perfectly normal to me and my husband to just put it off for a while. To my almost 4 year old, it was devastating.
I bring this up today because as I write this, my now almost 11 year old is in the kitchen baking me a birthday cake. Why? Because if she didn’t, I wouldn’t have one and to her this is still very important. To me, it is extremely painful. I try every year to be happy on my birthday and celebrate as best I can with my daughters and my husband, but I am drowning inside. 18 days after my birthday, my son died. My birthday and Mother’s Day fell right in the middle of the storm. These are not happy days for me.
I don’t want a party or presents. I don’t want to go out to eat or have cake. I just want to hold my baby again. People say, “Time heals all wounds.” People who say this have not lost their child. People say, “It will get easier.” People who say this have not lost their child. People say I should celebrate my birthday. People who say this do not realize that the memory etched into my mind and heart forever of my birthday is of my son with stitches across the back of his head. It is of my son not being able to walk, talk or eat. It is of my son confused and in pain on our first day home from the hospital. This is my memory of my birthday. Making a new memory is not possible. This was my last birthday with my son and it is forever in my mind and heart. It is a memory of me holding him and trying to console his pains.
My daughters will celebrate. My husband will quietly treat me like a princess. I will cry inside. Happy birthday for me is anything but happy. I will sit in my rocker and pray. I will ask God once again Why? Why did He take MY baby? Why do I still feel the pain as raw as I did 7 years ago? Why can’t I have a Happy Birthday?
I do not ask God these things out of anger. No. I ask because I am human and I hurt. I ask because I don’t know and I feel pain. I probably don’t want to know. I know I don’t need to know, but I ask anyway. I will turn to the good book and find some verses that will bring me comfort. I will listen to God speak to me until I can clear my head and smile for my birthday cake.
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me: thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4
“Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5
“The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those that are crushed in spirit. ” Psalm 34:18
Just typing these verses out lifts my heart. God is so good, in all circumstances. For my birthday this year, I ask for prayers. That is all.