Today is mum’s 58th birthday. Normally, I’d get up and go to work, call her first thing and sing away. I’d probably call her four or five more times during the day and after I’d finished work for the day, head to her house to smother her in kisses. We’d head out for a family dinner and then on the weekend, she’d have her friends around to celebrate.
This year, we have to do it all without her. I can’t pick up the phone, even though I haven’t been able to delete her number. I can’t smother her in kisses. There’s no birthday present to hand over.
Today is another reminder that she’s not here.
Someone walked past me the other day wearing her perfume. My stomach contracted as the punch ploughed through. I was on a plane and in a confined space. For the next hour and a half I couldn’t escape the smell. And it hurt.
I forced myself to take three very big and deep breaths and closed my eyes.
I could see my mum spraying the perfume on her wrists and neck, and I could feel the smell moving its way through the house as she floated from room to room, changing handbags, putting on her shoes, lining her eyes with eyeliner and her lips with dark red lipstick. I could hear her voice asking whether she looked ok and I felt myself looking up at her, smiling and saying ‘yep’.
It’s amazing how something so small as smell can shatter your heart into a million pieces.
Today is mum’s 58th birthday.
Today, instead of celebrating with her, we’re celebrating for her.
We’ll spend the day brunching with her friends, playing with her grandson and having dinner as a family. Because my mother always celebrated everything and today is no exception.
Today we will celebrate my mum with food, friends and laughter. We’ll go for walks and pamper ourselves. We’ll spend the day together.
Because she wouldn’t have it any other way.