This is another sad post about my mom. Today’s her birthday.

BTW, I have another post I’m working on about my trip to Rexburg, which was a really great experience. But before I finish that, I felt the desire to post what I wrote on my Mom’s Facebook page today. It is so weird to write on the Facebook wall of a person who cannot read it, yet is still alive. I will never get over how strange that feels.

You are 60 today Mom.

I have actually dreaded this birthday. A
few years ago, when we really started to lose you, I had a horrifying,
irrational wish (because that’s how grief works): I hoped you would
leave us completely before you turned 60. My reasons maybe make sense
only to me–your child.

I wanted people to know.

I wanted,
when I told this story, for people to understand how early you were
taken from us. For some reason, the thought of saying you passed in your
fifties made me feel like people would “get it.” People would
automatically say “Oh, that’s so young! And such an unusual age to die
of Alzheimer’s…” Imagining being able to say you left us in your
fifties made me feel that people would immediately recognize that what
happened to you was traumatic and devastating. Whereas, it felt to me
that saying 60 or 61 or 62 would lead people to think “Oh, she was
elderly. It makes sense that she died of Alzheimer’s, just like my
grandma did.”

They wouldn’t know.

They wouldn’t
understand that you have been gone for so many years already–that you
missed the end of your eldest child’s twenties, and the end of your
youngest child’s teens. They wouldn’t know that none of your
grandchildren were able to meet you as *you* nor that so many will
likely not meet you at all. They wouldn’t understand that you were taken
from us so early–decades before you were supposed to leave us. They
wouldn’t know that your own mother, at the age of 92, has a mind still
largely functional–can still walk and talk and write and be witty. They
wouldn’t understand my loss for what it is.

I’m still not totally sure why that felt important to me. But it did.

And yet, now you are 60.

And instead of feeling cheated of some strange, grief-based numerical
anecdote, I choose to feel grateful. I am grateful that I saw you last
weekend, and that I was able to hug you, and that during the three days
there was one moment of partial lucidity where you seemed to recognize
me for who I am. I choose to be grateful I can still hug you tightly and
feel your warmth–the same warmth that comforted me as a little child. I
choose to be grateful that we are all still with you, learning from
you. I choose to be grateful for the Lord and His timing–for surely if
he knows the fall of the sparrow, he certainly knows when to take home a
majestic, wonderful woman such as you.

I choose to trust that in
the end, all will be made right–and that all that seems so broken and
fractured and upended now will be rectified. I choose to celebrate you
and all that you are. I choose to delight in the days or months or years
you have with us, and I choose to savor these last remaining moments of
your presence in my life on this planet. For, what a gift that is!
Although you cannot speak, I choose to celebrate the pieces of you that
remain: your neverendingly cheerful disposition; your laughter and your
tears; and most of all, the shimmers of faith and gratitude that,
through all the disaese, somehow break through, reminding me of the
essence of your soul.

Happy birthday Mommy. May this year bring
you many moments in which you can bask in the presence of those you
love, and may it bring you anything else the Lord needs you, or us, to