Yesterday you would be 58 years old.
Yesterday I’d have called you first thing in the morning, trying to be one of the first people to sing you, “Happy Birthday”. Your granddaughter and son-in-law would have joined us. You’d have laughed and thanked us.
Yesterday I’d have taken you out to eat at your favorite local restaurant. And if the cancer made you too weak to go out, I’d have made you your favorite sort of meal (Italian). I’d make most of it at my house but bake the bread at yours so your whole house would smell like bread for days.
Yesterday I would have given you your birthday present. It would probably be art supplies or other creative things you could do with your hands. You loved stuff like that.
Yesterday we’d have listened to Elvis, because you shared his birthday. We may have even watched an old Elvis movie. We’d sing Blue Suede Shoes.
Yesterday we’d stay too late and you’d be worn out and exhausted, but happy. You’d smile and thank us and we’d all kiss you goodnight. You’d go to bed thanking God for another birthday. You’d try not to worry if the cancer will steal your next one from you.
But, yesterday you weren’t here for pasta and Elvis movies. Yesterday we didn’t call you, we didn’t visit, or stay too late. Yesterday I couldn’t kiss you and fix your plate for you and help you to bed. Yesterday I couldn’t massage your legs or brew your tea or read the Bible to you.
Yesterday came and went without any celebrations at all. Because this is your first birthday away from us. And there was no longer a reason to celebrate.
Happy birthday, Mom. You are forever 58. You will never look like your mother (something you dreaded). You will never lose your singing voice. You will never go blind and stop painting. You will never go deaf and stop listening to music. You will never lose your mind and stop being yourself.
I hope you met Elvis in Heaven. I hope you apologized for living in Memphis for years and never seeing Graceland. I hope you both pulled out guitars and did a little picking. I hope you ate a big slice of Angel Food Cake (because of course) and laughed because it would never go straight to your hips.
I hope you were laughing that beautiful laugh today. I hope it was the best birthday you’ve ever had.
I love you. I miss you. I’ll see you soon.