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35 and Counting

My son Chad would be 35 today. The last time we celebrated his birthday together was when he turned 30 and I really wish I knew what we did. I have a foggy memory of a nice restaurant in Scottsdale, but I could be wrong. It may not have been that night.

Of course - and I'm pretty sure you're thinking this right now - I could figure it out. I could search through my phone for photos or look through my bank records for the payment I made to the restaurant where we probably had dinner. My best guess is that we went out because that's what we did for birthdays. Me. The Boys. Dinner. Birthdays.

Knowing where we went or what we did isn't primarily my concern. Although I do wish I could remember, because I find myself with a faint discomfort around my unknowing.

That said, what's bugging me most at the moment is that whatever it was that we did the night of Chad's 30th birthday, none of us knew it would be the last time we'd celebrate his life on earth.

We didn't then (and two of us still don't now) live the day-to-day with the concept of "keeping death always before us". At least not the way that saintly quote is intended - that higher call to eternity and life beyond the grave. For me, and other grieving moms I know, thinking like that on an "always" basis is a bit of a reach.

Truth be told, on our bad nights we keep the thoughts of "death before us" as the possibility that our living children could die. Yes, that's what we think about, and completely freak out about, more often than you know. Because it could happen you know. It has happened we know.

And this is what I sit here thinking about on the eve of the birth of my son 35 years ago. How he lived 30 years and how his life was amazing and how he enjoyed most of it I think and still I don't remember how we celebrated that last birthday and how I wish I did.

And how I hope - how I dare to hope - that his little brother lives to celebrate birthdays long after I have faced "death before me". Long after...

Please note:

I'm dedicating this post to the March children and grandchildren of the women who have attended a Sacred Sorrows retreat: Chad, Garrett, David L., Oksana, Jayman, Johnny, Sean, David I., Chris, Savannah, Michele, Bernadette Rose and Robert. And for all of our children - may they rest easy.

If you'd like to donate $35 in honor of Chad's birthday, and help support the continuing efforts of Sacred Sorrows, please click here:

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Joyful heavenly Birthday to Chad, and Peace to you, his mom.

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