Today is my mom’s birthday. She would have been 69 years old. June 5 usually represented what my family called, “Birthday Week.” My mom kicked off 6 days of Dairy Queen cake for her, Portillo’s chocolate cake for my son, more Dairy Queen cake for my husband and finally, some kind of cake we weren’t already sick of, for me. It was exhausting because I usually had to cram in kiddie parties and family gatherings (we combined my husband’s and mine, but the kid got his own). We always started off strong for my mom though. She always got her choice of dinner and an M&M Treatza-Pizza or Pecan Cluster Dairy Queen confection. In my family, Gemini’s ruled. And that was cool.
It’s ironic that this week my Facebook page was inundated by Sheryl Sandberg’s post acknowledging the end of Sheloshim for her husband Dave Goldberg and shared by people who’ve lost parents. I also read Mayim Bialik’s post on Kveller.com about the loss of her dad and grieving in a public space. I would like to have a minyan with both of these women and I’d also include Sheryl Strayed, but she’s not Jewish, so maybe she could hang out there anyway?
I have no epiphany to share in the mourning process. People tell me the “firsts” are the hardest, but Birthday Week is forever shortened by one day, and I don’t see that ever improving. I considered sitting in my backyard among my mom’s flower pots, sipping ice tea, wearing one of her large brimmed hats and rereading The Great Gatsby not only because it was one of her favorite books and I have her note-filled copy but also because my son needs to read it over the summer. I guess in a way, that’s taking Option B.