Earlier this week Jamie invited me to meet him on Thursday at mom’s bench where we could celebrate mom’s birthday eating McDonald’s double cheeseburgers and reminiscing about old times.
When mom had passed a special friend had sent a McDonald’s gift card. Mom’s birthday was definitely the perfect time to use the thoughtful gift.
Thursday, October 3rd was mom’s birthday. She would have been 86 years old. Time sure has flown by . . . I can hardly believe that she has been gone over three months. Sometimes it is hard to just simply believe she is gone at all. My heart aches missing her when I dwell on that thought.
When I opened my email this morning, someone had sent me a beautiful slideshow. A slide stated, “There are moments in life when you miss someone so much that you want to pick them from your dreams and hug them.” When I read this slide, I felt that it was no coincidence that this message came to me today because that is exactly how I am feeling. I would love to have one more hug from mom especially on her birthday.
Our weather in Chicago has been exceptional recently. Unfortunately, Thursday late morning’s weather was not. So we chose to do the next best thing; we ate at mom’s favorite McDonald’s where my brothers and I had taken mom so many times. After enjoying our double cheeseburgers, we drove to mom’s bench.
Once we arrived the rain was down to a light drizzle. All the colors in the garden seemed so beautiful and crisp; the leaves were starting to cover the walkway.
As we strolled towards the gazebo and looked towards the pier, mom’s bench was now facing the fountains in the pond. Since the bench is not nailed down, other families can move the bench to accommodate their group if they choose to. The bench looked good there too. Due to the rain we did not sit on the bench.
Jamie brought Birthday balloons and tied them to her bench. He wanted everyone who visited the pond to know that mom’s birthday was today. We chuckled that we did not know due to the inclement weather just how many if anyone would visit.
Staring out onto the pond, we both prayed mom’s favorite prayer which had given her so much peace during her most difficult days:
Mom is the Light.
The Light is within Mom.
The Light moves throughout Mom.
The Light surrounds Mom.
The Light comforts Mom.
The Light gives Mom peace.
Mom is the Light.
We know when a loved one passes, that everyone goes through stages. The wounds and emptiness linger, but the feelings of deep love prevail. We shared some of our different and similar stages of grief and loss. We also know that time will heal all of our hurts.
When we started to leave I said, “Sure wish we saw our butterfly.” No sooner did Jamie agree with me when I noticed the butterfly appear at a distance. However Jamie looked up and did not see the butterfly as it moved quickly in and out of the flowers and bushes. I hoped God would show him the butterfly, too. We were both relieved and delighted when the butterfly reappeared. Surprisingly one little white butterfly made such a huge impact on our visit. We both want to believe the butterfly is a sign from mom letting us know she is well and missing us too.
We hoped that mom was having a wonderful birthday in heaven playing pinochle with all our family members who previously passed.
When we were at our cars, we looked back at the pier. We could see mom’s birthday balloons waving to us. Thank God for the beautiful setting with mom’s memorial bench. What a wonderful way to remember mom. We still can feel her presence there; I believe we always will.
Happy Birthday, Mom!
We love and miss you very much!