repost: happiest of happy birthdays mom!

Author: angiem, 12 22nd, 2009

This is a re-post from last year on this day.  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE you mom!!!  Happy Birthday!!!!!!

It is early morning, the house is quiet, and I’m sitting at the kitchen table with a hot cup of coffee and my thoughts, looking out the window at the snow falling and swirling every time a gust of wind veers it off its vertical course. The snow is deep, probably around two feet, and it hasn’t stopped descending. While I was loving it days ago, I feel it’s about time it stopped.

Today is my mom’s birthday. I did not need to read through my journals -although I did read a whole lot yesterday- to recapture the emotions I have been going through the last four years.  Since childhood the dynamic energy of our family has been held together by this peaceful, calm and loving woman.  She has sacrificed her youth to us, mothering, cooking, making peace, taking us places, admonishing tenderly when we needed it, teaching us songs, reciting poetry, raising five kids with strong personalities, to be kind, to be loving, to be polite, to love God, to think for ourselves and not give in to the peer pressure around us. Reminding us that mother, father, sister, and brother are one’s true best friends. She has been silly when we were silly, cheerful when we were cheerful, encouraging when we were sad, no matter how inconsequential (from an adult perspective) our hurts.

As we reached adulthood and started families of our own, she gathered us back home on Sundays, cooking up a storm, waiting on us, holding and playing with the grandchildren so we could eat while the food was hot. She babysat on weekends so that the five of us kids with our spouses could go out to dinner together.  She babysat during the week when we were in school or at our jobs, caring for and loving her grandchildren with the same patience and dedication she had shown us.

And then cancer struck.  Out of nowhere, no indication.  It took my breath away, and I, who had believed myself strong and optimistic and unafraid, couldn’t stop crying and began to fear every phone call and every shadow.  I became moody and short-tempered and found fault with the littlest, most unimportant thing.  I am sure I was a nightmare to my husband and my son.  And for the first time in my life, I blamed God.  How could He do this to her? To her??  I could name two dozen people who deserved it.  But her? What had she done?

Sensing the pain and disillusionment of her children, she stood strong and unwavering in her faith in God.  She’d never complain, not even when the chemotherapy and radiation left her weak and pale and trembling.  Not even when she lost her hair and her eyebrows and her eyelashes.  When every breath she took must have hurt her to the core and every step was an exertion.  While her heart must have cried out to God and possibly to my father, she was her faithful, encouraging self to the rest. She knew how frangible we were.

I cringe when I reflect upon my immaturity. She, who had encouraged me for years and years, could barely get any words of encouragement from me.  I was too afraid to linger on her illness.  I was too afraid I’d come undone.  I couldn’t find the right words.  I didn’t know if the right words existed.  Everything I came up with sounded empty and pathetic, a screen to keep the real feelings in. I didn’t even know what my real feelings were, other than a jumbled up and chaotic mess.  Besides, I was busy being selfish and busy blaming God.  I wallowed in self pity day after day, wondering what would become of me, were she to die.  Wondering what would become of the relationship between my sisters and brothers and father.  She was the glue between the parts, the filling between the cake.

The winds of despair blew me in many directions.  I reflected about the church I had been brought up in and how it had become a millstone around my neck with its formulas and laws so intent on punishment.  I fell victim to my newfound occupation of holding everyone but myself responsible.  That inner voice that I had always attributed to God, had become less and less dependable.  All the things it was telling me seemed to be meant for someone else.  Angrily, I just stopped listening.  And then one day my mom said something I had often heard (yes, even in my head): God rains His blessings on the just and the unjust, and we have to be strong in our faith and take the good as well as the bad.  It isn’t for us to question, and not because we don’t have the right, but rather because it keeps us from seeing the grace of God and the miracles He works in our lives.

I wish I could say I went home and got on my knees and prayed for repentance.  I wish I could say that hope and courage and contentment and selflessness became such a part of my life that I never questioned God anymore.  But I didn’t fall on my knees.  And, I didn’t become a better person.  Instead I became angrier at God, and (I’m ashamed to admit this) even at her, for saying such simplistic things.  It was all well and good for someone to dole out the advice, especially if there had been no major suffering in that person’s life, but how could she just sit back and believe it?  And not just believe it, but repeat it?

Yet, my mother is a wise woman.  She knew what she was doing, she felt my uncertainties and my need to be uplifted.  She knew those words would slowly work their way under my thick skull and turn me in the right direction.  She has unwavering faith in God to hold her up and knew that I was lacking.  Slowly faith has worked its way back in.

But it isn’t easy. Even now, day by day, I have to remind myself.  To pray. To hope. To lift up my head and stop focusing on the mud and dirt around me. To stop looking for faults in others while just noticing the good in me. Sometimes all I can offer to God is a please or a thank you, because words fail. My mom’s health has improved.  The peace within me has increased.  The love between us all has deepened.

I love you mom.  More than I can possibly express in words or deeds.  For all that you were and you are and you will be.  I love you and thank God for each day we are together.  Happy Birthday!


28 Responses to “repost: happiest of happy birthdays mom!”

  1. Adina Says:

    Angie, the love your family has for each other is amazing. And your mom is the foundation of that love. She is a strong, beautiful, loving woman. She is a fighter for sure. Please wish her the happiest of birthdays along with God’s peace, love and blessings. Happy Birthday tusa Marioara!

  2. Ava Says:

    Angie from reading your previous posts I can tell you have an amazing mom. I wish her good health, peace, happiness, and many years together in the bossom of her lovinv family.

  3. Jena Says:

    A beautiful, heartfelt post Angie. Happy Birthday to your mom! Wishes of good health her way.

  4. Bebe Says:

    Happy Birthday Angie’s mom! No wonder you have such a beautiful daughter. She takes after you! God bless you with many more healthy years.

  5. Lydia, Clueless Crafter Says:

    Your candor is contagious. I hopped online today to get some insight. Our family is in Jamaica, but all isn’t as hoped. Today, on the bus to town, my mother got news that her best childhood friend unexpectedly passed last night. She, along with dad, will be leaving our villa earlier than planned.

    I feel breathless, having no words of support to give to her. She’s a strong woman who cries only in her sleep. She’s my mother.

    Missing yesterday, the day when I had forgotten about death.

    You are a good daughter, Angie!

  6. lemonologie Says:

    Beautiful post! Thanks for sharing the lovely bond that you have with your mother.

  7. Stephanie Baffone Says:

    Hi Angie-
    Wow…a post like this reminds me of my I yearn for a daughter of my own and mourn the loss of my mother so dearly.
    Beautiful. Thank you for taking the time to share it, Angie!

  8. Alena Says:

    Happy Birthday tusa Marioara!
    Have a great and blessed day.
    Much love,
    Alena, James & Juliet

  9. Lidia Boicu Says:

    wow Angie you are an amazing writer.. I loved, loved this story and I found so much myself in your story when I got diagnosed with cancer… Keep up the good work

  10. Daniela Says:

    Cu ocazia zilei onomasticie, vreau sa va doresc “La Multi Ani” tusi… te pup, si va doresc multa sanatate, pace si prosperitate. Thank you so much for being such a wonderful aunt when we were growing up, You have helped me so many times, I have only thee most wonderful memories of you… and I just want to say I Love you.

    God bless you.


  11. Deb Says:

    I lost my Dad to cancer a few years back, he died with grit and with grace. I learned a lot from his bravery.

    Your Mom sounds like a very special person. Happy Birthday Angie’s Mom!!

  12. Make Do Style Says:

    It is hard to look at the miracle of life in the same way when in pain and your pain must have been huge thinking you might lose your mother. Your words and description makes it clear why she is so central to your hope and well being. Happy birthday to her!


  13. deb @ talk at the table Says:

    Angie. I feel honoured to know you.
    To know your mother.
    This was just so incredibly beautiful. I hope you have forgiven yourself for feeling normal pain. Your true heart was known .
    Wish your mother a happy and healthy birthday, and may the new year bring continued joy.

    I keep reading your post from yesterday, and am not sure what to say. Other than sometimes I wonder, but mostly I go quietly forward, hoping the eyes of my heart see well, love well, do well. There have been subtle changes lately. And they are having profound affects. Sometimes this is the way….

    love to you

  14. Wendy Says:

    What a truly lovely post. I’m wishing your mom a happy birthday, and so glad she’s here to celebrate another one!

  15. French Fancy Says:

    Angie, you write more honestly and openly than any other blogger I’ve seen. What wonderful words you write about your mum and your family and your life in general. I would love to have your faith - even though you say you question it - but i just don’t have any, sad to say. Too many bad things happen for me to believe in any sort of deity.

    Having said that I do appreciate that feeling that is lacking in me appearing in others. I wish you weren’t so hard on yourself though - it sounds like you are having a very introspective time right now and I hope you find within you what you are searching for.

    In the meantime I want to wish you a sincere wish of love, peace and happiness - for now and for all time

  16. Jill Kemerer Says:

    Wow. This was exactly what I needed today. It’s easy to blame God for problems, but I do know He loves us more than we could possibly imagine. He doesn’t want us to be in pain. I’m so glad your mom is a survivor.

    Thanks so much, Angie.

    Have a very Merry Christmas!

  17. Renee Khan Says:

    Happy birthday Angie’s dear Mom.

    Angie what a heartwarming and tender and honest tribute to your Mom.

    It is also an honest tribute about the fear of losing someone we love to cancer.

    Reading this gave me a better understanding of my own daughters and son. And for that I thank you.

    Angie this is beautifully written and I love that you all have a strong faith.

    Love Renee xoxoxo

  18. Kary Gonyer Says:

    So beautifully written..just leaves me speechless……

    you expressed feelings I have but could never find the words for….

    wishing you peace at this Christmastime……


  19. audrey Says:

    Oh Angie happy birthday to your mom! I’m so happy that your peace has increased and that she is feeling better and stronger. It is so incredibly wonderful to celebrate her birthday, as well as relish in the love and beauty that she has created in you, in your family, and all that she does. it’s a blessing for us readers too.

  20. Susu Paris Chic Says:

    How very touching… mothers are one of the best things we are blessed with in life.

    I’m spending Christmas in my family in Finland. My mom and sis just spent the night together, speaking and cooking, preparing for tomorrow. It was very sweet!

    I’m wishing you a very Merry Noël my dear!

  21. Corinne Says:

    You and your mother both sound amazing. Happy birthday to your mom :)

  22. krista Says:

    what a beautiful and loving tribute. happiest of holidays to you and yours, angie.
    and happy birthday to your mom!

  23. Renee Khan Says:

    Angie darling thank you for the Christmas card.

    Oh and by the way there are 13 kids. I have 8 sisters and 4 brothers.

    Merry Christmas darling.

    Love Renee xoxo

  24. rochambeau Says:

    Happy Birthday to your amazing mother! There is so much to celebrate! And a very Merry Christmas to you and ALL of your family.
    You are a special soul Angie!


  25. Jennifer Says:

    Angie — Your mother sounds strong and true and loving. Happy belated birthday to her! (Dec 22 is a significant date in our family, too: she shares her birthday with my father and brother-in-law. )

    I hope you had a peaceful and happy Christmas!

  26. Vanessa Says:

    Oh, Angie…embrace that wonderful mother. Take in everything that she is…engrain her in your life and treasure every second you have. I lost my dear mother almost 6 years ago to pancreatic cancer and miss her so keenly at times it feels like a punch to the rib cage. Even now, I can feel the tears pooling in the corners of my eyes and the thick lump tightening around my airways. When I lost her I lost not only my dear mother but my best friend and confidant and the world lost one of the sweetest souls. Of course that sweet soul is now in a much brighter place….but I miss the arms that enveloped me and seemed to make every worry melt.
    A very happy birthday to your sweet mother.

  27. angiem Says:

    Oh Vanessa. I am so sorry. I pray you are surrounded by peace, and enveloped in love. I cannot imagine a pain more horrendous for a daughter.

  28. angiem Says:

    Renee, WOW!!

    Thank you everyone! I have just printed this out for my mom and she loves it!!! She will keep these lovely wishes tucked away, and bring them out to savor from time to time.

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