Tag Archives: birthday


My birthday yesterday began with a cry. Not a gleeful cry, but a cry as in crying, weeping, sobbing. I’ve been having a horrid few days (horrid months, actually) what with the year anniversary of Matthew’s death on March 11,  my mother’s two-year death anniversary on March 24, his birthday on April 28, and then my birthday without two individuals I loved so dearly. I don’t even want to think about upcoming Mother’s Day.

When had I morphed into a sixty-something senior? I never imagined this day would arrive. But what did I think, that I was immune to time? The unfathomable happened when my thirty-six-year-old son died of an extremely rare heart cancer, so I’m definitely not “special.”

I’ve made lots of wishes in the past. One wish I never made was for my children to survive me. The natural order of death exists: grandparents, parents, children, grandchildren. Who expects the death of a child to be inserted between grandparents and parents? No, that was never a wish of mine. I had never considered such a situation, so how could I have wished for it to never happen?

But unfathomably it did.

I’m into the second month of the second year, and life is worse than the first year. I assumed it would get easier not harder.

It’s gotten so much harder. Some days I can barely breathe. Some days I swear I’m having a heart attack. Some days I don’t want to get out of bed. Some nights I don’t want to go to bed. My son is the last thing on my mind at night, the first in the morning. I always shed tears for him before I sleep and again upon waking.

I can’t go on any longer. How do I? How can I? My life’s not the same, and no matter what I or anyone else says or does, it never will be. I can’t wake up and say my day will be great, that I’ll ignore bad words spewed about me, or I’ll do “this” instead of “that” and I’ll feel better, or that my diet will start today and I’ll feel better once I’ve lost weight. Such mundane issues now. Who cares?

Nothing I’ll ever do for the rest of my life will make me happier. Or glad to be alive. Or grateful for what I have.


I know I’m wrong. I should be grateful. I have two other wonderful children. Gorgeous grandchildren. A husband. A home.

But I have such a void. And no matter what happens, it’ll never be filled. It’s as if I’ve fallen into an insatiable sinkhole that is determined to smother me. I can’t claw my way out no matter what I do. Because I can’t. It’s impossible. No matter what I do. It’s indescribable, actually. That’s my life now though my words are inadequate to accurately describe how I feel.

I was to have taken minutes at my writers group yesterday morning. Committed myself a month ago.  It’s been months since I’ve attended a meeting. I went to bed knowing I wouldn’t follow through the next day. How easy it is to promise something weeks or months—even days—before an event. I’ve never reneged on duties, no matter what they might be. Until recently.

I had nightmares I’d break down at the meeting and have to escape and wouldn’t be able to gather all my belongings, and I’d have to wait outside or in  the washroom and hope someone would find me to hand over my things, or I’d have to linger like an idiot and sneak back into the room after everyone left.  I don’t want to break down in front of others. My grief is mine. It’s private.  I don’t share,  at least not much, because no one can possibly know my agony, and everyone is sick of my gloominess and glumness and sorrowful posts. Because unless you’re in my shoes, you don’t know. And I don’t want you in my shoes.

I had thought I was in pain when my mother died a year before my son. I’ve horribly neglected grieving for her because I’ve been consumed with my son. But the pain over my mother’s death wasn’t this kind of agony and heartbreak though at the time I thought it was. That was grief. Grief is different than pain and agony and heartbreak and lack of  breath and nil motivation. Grief for a parent or a grandparent or a cousin or a friend, even a spouse, is so much different than grief for a child.

Yesterday morning, an hour before the writing group was to meet, one of my fellow writers messaged me a happy birthday and “see you soon.”

No, you won’t see me soon.  You may never see me again.

I hate I let people down. I hate I was a no show.  I hate people not knowing what I’m suffering—no, I take that back; I wish for no one—ever—to feel my pain. It’s too horrendous.

But I went to the meeting the day of my birthday, not that I cared it was my birthday. Got within five minutes of the venue and turned back. It didn’t help that “Broken Halos” came on the radio during the drive.

At noon, I met my granddaughter and her mother for lunch. I put on a brave front. I wouldn’t break down in front of a ten-year-old, not the daughter of my son. She suffers her own unimaginable pain. I can’t begin to comprehend hers; I only know mine. Hers: so much different than mine.

Hubby came home early from work. “It’s your birthday. I want to take you shopping,” he said. “You need new bras and undies.” I didn’t want new underwear. I could buy my own, thank you very much. But he insisted, so we went to The Bay at the mall. He means well. He’s sick of my grey bras and ripped panties. I am, too, but I’m comfortable wearing old friends although I always pray before leaving the house that I won’t be in an accident. How horrid that would be (for me!) if hospital staff saw my grossly discoloured, stretched, and torn underwear.

After hours traipsing the floors and numerous trips to dressing rooms, I ended up with three pairs of undies, three bras, and two pairs of jeans. All expensive. More money than I would have spent. “It’s your birthday,” he insisted at my every complaint. He wanted to buy me more clothing, too, but I was shopped-out. I was also disgusted with my looks when trying on the items. Rolls and cellulite and sag, so much more noticeable with fluorescent lights and three walls of floor-to-ceiling mirrors inches from my body, freaked me out. When had I gotten that out of shape? When had I morphed into my eighty-year-old mother? Never had I imagined I’d look the way I do now. But  what did a sixty-seven-year-old look like beneath clothing? Everyone tells me how young I look. Perhaps I did, once upon a time: before my son died. But I’ve aged ten years in the last year. And the clothed me looks one hundred percent better than the naked me.

I’m old. I’m disgusting.

I’ve let myself go over the past year and a half. My son died! That’s my excuse. Excuses are great! Always excuses! I can have those French fries, the cheesecake. The ice cream cone. The bags of Goodies and licorice. I can eat no food at all! The beer. The too-many glass of wine. What happened to my exercise regime? I had been on a routine once upon a time. But I’m grieving. I’m allowed, right?

I’m paying the price now. Or, at my age, would I look like this even if my son were alive?

I didn’t want new clothes yesterday. “Take me shopping after I’ve lost weight.”

“Today’s your birthday. We’re going today,” Hubby said.

We went to a pub for dinner afterward. I had two beer. Fries, too. It was my birthday. Definitely okay to indulge. But I formulated a plan: tomorrow—no, Monday; always Mondays—I’ll eat healthier. I’ll exercise. I’ll drink less.

“What’s wrong?” Hubby asked in between the fries and beer. “Your eyes are glazed over.”


“There’s something. It’s your birthday. Why are you crying on your birthday? What’s wrong?”

“Nothing.” I kept insisting. I tried desperately to hold in my tears. He wouldn’t understand. He hadn’t lost a child; I did. He couldn’t possibly understand.

“I’ll tell you later,”  I finally said, to shut him up.

Tears rolled down my face all the way home. I don’t sob and weep anymore. I don’t scream or rant or rave. I just tear. Big, bottomless tears that hide behind my eyeballs, tears that creep out every second of every day and careen down my cheeks. Silent tears. Puffy-eye tears. Sore-eye tears.

It was dusk, but I donned my sunglasses. Hubby makes fun of my sunglasses, that I wear them when there’s no sun. I wear them more and more often now.

We got home, changed into grubbies, and watched TV. I was glad Hubby didn’t question me. My pain, my agony, is mine alone. Even on my birthday.

Later, when on my tablet, I noticed a stranger had commented on my “Two Candles” poem on my blog that I had posted on Matt’s birthday.

“I’m so sorry,” she wrote. “It’s just really hard. Hugs.”

I  went to her blog and read one of her posts. She  was going on ten years without her son, who was killed by a drunk driver. Entering the second year after the death of a child, she wrote, is even worse than the first. During the first you’re still in shock and disbelief, but by the time the second anniversary rolls around, reality has set in.

How true that is! I was a tad comforted that how I’d been feeling was maybe sorta “normal.”

I continually see my son, unannounced (surprise! surprise!), entering the kitchen, sporting his sly grin. He’d sometimes carry an armful of clothing he needed mended. Oh, the repairs and hemming I’ve done for him. How I miss it even though at the time I inwardly cringed. Mending and ironing: two chores I’m not particularly fond of. Hubby used to comment that Matthew’s mending got done immediately whereas his would sit on my sewing table for weeks. In retrospect, I’m so glad I finished Matt’s clothes as quickly as I did and that I never complained. Such little things that comfort me.

Ironically, before I went to bed last night, I came across a friend’s Facebook post: “Please be patient with me. You see, I lost my child. And while it may seem like a long time to you, it’s every day for me.”

Yes, it’s every day. Even on my birthday.


Please be patient




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Two Candles

I’m eating a Boston cream donut today.

Boston cream donuts: your favourite kind.

Matt nine years old 001 (2)

Since your death I’ve eaten too many,

Always an excuse to eat one—or two.


Too many excuses to drink and eat.


Today’s your birthday in Heaven at 38

Where you’ll continue to age,

But here on earth, forever 36.


Always 36.


In my solitude I insert candles in the donut,

Between my tears I light two wicks:

One for each birthday you’ve missed on earth.


boston cream


I make a wish—a wish that’ll never come true—

And blow out flickering flames.


Happy birthday in Heaven, sweet son.

Happy birthday, Matthew, my cherubic babe.

Matt baby


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Happy Birthday To Me!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything other than posts for the Thursday Spot Writers. Life’s been busy.

To start off: Google’s been giving me a hard time lately. Obviously, with nearly 10,000 emails in my inbox, not to mention sent messages, drafts, spam and trash, plus Google drive where I’ve been storing numerous files, I am filled to capacity. So, for the past couple of weeks, I’ve been deleting like mad and, of course, inadvertently deleted the post I wrote late on Saturday that I was going to post on Sunday. I shudder to think what other important info I’ve deleted by mistake.

So (gah!) here I go, trying to replicate that post. Not much fun doing repetitious work due to stupidity, not when I have a million other things to do.

The deleted post was a “funny” about my birthday, which was Saturday, May 2. I received hundreds of b’day wishes on Facebook, but not one from my hubby. Shouldn’t he be remembering my special day?

If you, the reader, were around my blog this time last year, you might remember how he messed up both our anniversary and my birthday that year. When—after our anniversary but before my birthday—he presented me with flowers and other gifts and an expensive dinner out, I didn’t know if he was celebrating a late anniversary or an early birthday (both are within three weeks of each other). I didn’t ask, mainly because I was too confused. (We did discuss it later and had a great laugh! Turns out he had both dates wrong but did go “all out” for both occasions, more so than any other previous year.)

Hubby usually brings up important dates a couple of days ahead for my input.  Nope, not this year.  When there were no birthday wishes by noon on my special day, I knew he had forgotten. Even a couple of phone calls to me didn’t jog his memory—not even the birth of the royal baby made him stop to think, Hey, it might be my wife’s birthday today, too—not that he’s at all interested in the monarchy.

When he broke out in “Sixteen Candles” at dinner a few minutes after my last phone call, I thought Aha, he’s remembered.  Nope. He was just singing aimlessly as he sometimes does.

I might have had a bit too much vino on Saturday. After all, I had to cook dinner on my special day, so I felt I deserved an extra sip or two. So I got onto Facebook and kinda went overboard. After baring my soul and spilling my guts and mentioning how Hubby had burst out into song, a Facebook friend said Hubby was messing with me. To be honest, I had thought so, too, but just for a mere second.

On Sunday afternoon, we went to see The Age of Adaline (an excellent movie, by the way!). The movie wasn’t on Hubby’s must-see list, but I thought I deserved a belated “something” instead of slaving in the yard despite the day being the nicest one we’ve had since summer 2014. At the mention of anniversaries and birthdays in the movie, I half expected a couple of jabs from him. Like, Hey, did I miss something?


Did I tell you he forgot our anniversary this year as well? Yep, he did. Despite his confusion of the dates last year, at least I was remembered, and it was wonderful when he went beyond the call of duty then on both occasions.

Mother’s Day is coming up. I was in the card section Saturday while we were shopping. When Hubby asked what I was doing, I said I was buying a Mother’s Day card. I thought for sure that would jar his memory. Surely he remembers how close my birthday is to Mother’s Day.

Obviously not.

In retrospect, Saturday was kind of hilarious with all the Facebook postings I made. Of course, the wine helped with the flow. And the lack of shame and inhibition. But the situation WAS funny then.

Sunday and Monday, not so much.

Today, Tuesday, I’m a tad miffed. Pissed, to be more exact.

I’m upset, too, ‘cause I have several beautiful birthday cards I can’t display. I won’t display them. I won’t give him the opportunity to fess up because he’s been reminded. I want to see how long it’ll be before he clues in.

Of course, the situation could backfire on me. Perhaps he’s forgotten on purpose though why I don’t know. There’s no lover’s tiff at the moment.

Or perhaps he’ll never remember. The joke will be on me then!

May all your birthdays be happy…

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Forgotten Dates

Hubby gave me a FitBit two nights ago, on Monday, shortly after I suggested we start walking every evening after dinner.

“You might as well have it now instead of Wednesday,” he said. “If you’d like your present early, that is.”

Present? Wednesday? Early?  “Whatever you want,” I said.

“I bought it awhile.” He ran out to his vehicle, returned, and presented me with a box containing a FitBit. Of course, I didn’t know it was a FitBit, nor had I ever heard of the name, but obviously it had something to do with exercising.

“I was going to wrap it,” he said, “but since you’re getting it early…”

 Ok, I thought. I’m confused. Today is Monday, the 14th. A bit early for my birthday which isn’t until Friday, May 2. Our anniversary, which you conveniently forgot or ignored, was last week, on Tuesday, April 8. What’s all this got to do with Wednesday? I was a bit miffed that he had forgotten our anniversary–again!  And it was more than two weeks early for my birthday! Does that mean I’m not getting a gift on my special day?

Yesterday, Tuesday, Hubby called me around 2 p.m. “I might be late tomorrow, so do you want to go out to dinner tonight instead of Wednesday?”

Tonight? Instead of Wednesday? What’s up with Wednesday? And why this dinner? Maybe he had days mixed up. Good Friday was this week. Maybe he thought we couldn’t go out Friday being a holiday. (We always go out Friday for dinner and to a show.)

So, last night, Tuesday, the 15th, he arrived home with flowers, which he plopped on the counter without a word. For me? The confusion mounted. Then we drove downtown to an expensive restaurant, where we enjoyed a romantic evening with excellent food and a bottle of wine. Near the end of the meal, he said, “I’m thinking I won’t be that late tomorrow after all, so maybe we should pick up a bottle of wine. Get something special to eat for dinner.”

“Ok,” I said, still confused. Why all this special treatment two weeks before my birthday? Couldn’t you have saved the flowers for my day? And two special dinners? Tonight and tomorrow?

I can’t remember exactly how it happened, but on the way to the car after leaving the restaurant, the confusion cleared up. Hubby thought our anniversary was Wednesday the 15th..  A discussion ensued.

“Yes, it’s the 15th,” he insisted. “I wrote it in my Daytimer last year.”

“Nope,” I said. “It was last week, Tuesday, the 8th.”

“No, it isn’t. It’s the 15th. ” There was a pause. “You forgot too, then. You didn’t say anything. You didn’t give me a gift.”

“You haven’t remembered our anniversary for four years now, so I wasn’t mentioning it this year,” I replied.

“Oh, I have too remembered.”

No, you haven’t. We bantered back and forth. He never did admit he was wrong, but when he finally shut up, his lack of speech affirmed his mistake.

“I guess we don’t need to go to the liquor store now, do we?” I said.

“What do you mean?”

“Our anniversary is over. No sense celebrating tomorrow.”

He laughed. “We’ll still celebrate.”

The whole episode was rather funny. Not once did I ever think he had forgotten the date of our anniversary and had assumed it was an early birthday, though even that didn’t make much sense.

So we went to the liquor store, bought a New Zealand bottle of Kim Crawford. (My cousin in New Zealand had raved about it when we visited there last year.) Then we went to the grocery store to buy a few treats for dinner.

Today, Wednesday, I’ve been slow-cooking dry ribs for dinner. I’ve prepared the stuffing for the mushroom caps. The lobster is thawing. I’m antsy to open the wine, but I guess I better wait for Hubby.

However, I’m still confused. Today is Wednesday, the 16th. Hubby harped about Wednesday being our anniversary yet insisted our anniversary was the 15th.

I love my FitBit though. Thank you, Hubby.



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