what we have once enjoyed we can never lose, all that we love deeply becomes a part of us.
- Helen Keller
it happened on monday at lunchtime - i was scrolling through my facebook feed waiting to place my order at my local jimmy johns (love those sandwiches). suddenly, i came across my niece-in-law's (seriously, there has got to be a better name then that?) post about her anniversary. and in a moment i was paralyzed, just staring at that post and almost in tears.
i remember their wedding day like it was yesterday - my oldest was just two months old, chris and i were on our first date since he was born, and my mother-in-law Colleen was celebrating her birthday -- the same day my niece was married. Colleen was never one for a big show, and when she caught wind they were going to announce her birthday --- she ran to the bathroom. i get the biggest smile thinking of her bolting over to that bathroom so they couldn't announce her birthday - even if they still did when she came back to the room. (the loss family never misses a chance to celebrate and her running to the bathroom wasn't going to stop them.)
in that instant, i realized that that day would have been her 75th birthday and i didn't even realize it. i felt sad - sad that i forgot - sad that i forgot to ask chris how he was feeling - sad because the first birthday after her funeral, i thought of her every moment and this year i didn't even remember until almost half way through the day.
i was mad at myself - how could i forget so quickly, so easily? i still think about her every day since she died. in the past year i have spoken to her more than i would have ever imagine possible. she has helped me through many of tough times, sending me grace and peace in my darkest of hours. but her birthday? how could i possibly forget? it was too late, we wouldn't even have the chance to make it to her grave to place flowers. how could i let other ordinary things get in the way of celebrating this day for her?
and then i stopped and took a deep breath. i realized and remember that this is the way she would want it to be. she didn't need a big show, she just wanted to BE. be with her family. be with her grandkids. be with her faith. be with gus (her scottie dog). so i let go of that moment and didn't over dramatize it (as much as i can), and i decided to just BE.
colleen loved seeing pictures of the boys, so here's my belated birthday gift to her (and i can almost hear her asking me to print out a few of these so she can place them on her fridge). hugs and kisses to you colleen - thank you for continuing to BE a part of me and my family each and everyday.