Today’s my birthday and I’m missing my mum more than words can say. Pancreatic cancer took her from us in November 2014 and just before we had started celebrating our birthdays together. My mum’s birthday was 27 May and she had lots of reasons to not like that time. When she started out it was because it was the end of the school year. In her early years it meant exams, while she was a teacher it meant exams in a different way. And then her sister died the day after her birthday. It was one of the few times that we weren’t together and Aunty D died in a stupid single car accident caused by the woman who was driving her car. My beloved Aunty D had a stupid broken ankle and we lost her because no one moved her when she was hanging upside down, suffocated by her own seatbelt. It was stupid horrible accident. I think it was the hand of fate because my Aunty D couldn’t watch her son die of cancer. She died on 28 May and cancer took him just before her birthday in November. Anyway, it made mum hate her birthday even more. Then dad died and he was buried on the day that Aunty D died. I heard mum talking to one of her friends about how awful the time of her birthday was and that decided me – she needed a different day to celebrate. We went through a bunch of possibilities a six month birthday – that was too close to Aunty Ds and David’s death – so we came down to my birthday. It was a day mum liked to celebrate so it was perfect. We got one celebration and then her best weekend ever while she was dying. I got my beautiful niece out of the deal, our miracle, but now my birthday sucks and I don’t have anyone to share this pain with. So I’m putting it out in the world.
Mum would want me to celebrate anyway but I miss her and I don’t want to celebrate. I hate the cancer that took her. My mum was 76 when she died. She could run all of us into the ground. She died in November and in October she took a tennis lesson at a resort in Arizona. Then she played doubles tennis with folk who had no idea that she was in her 70s much less dying of stage 4 Pancreatic cancer.
My mum was amazing. She sailed across the Gulf of Mexico during a tropical storm. She free dove into a cave in Bora Bora. She went cannoning in Alaska and went off a small waterfall with her hubby. He told her to keep paddling whatever happened and she did and they got through it. My mum was a pilot, a geologist, a teacher, a fiddler – she was everything. I miss her so much it hurts and I don’t think that is ever going to stop.
My mum was an amazing woman. All I can do is to tell the world about her. Who she was and what she was. I want her here for my birthday. I want her back. I’ve buried myself in pictures of her the last few days. Slides we got from my dad’s house. The only thing that his Ukrainian mail order bride allowed us after he died. Some pictures I don’t remember. Memories. It’s what I’ve got. That and a drive to do more, be more, live more. For her. For my mum.