Bittersweet


Today is my mother’s 65th birthday. Today is a hard day. It’s the first birthday without her, followed on the heels of the first holiday without her. I woke to a text saying, “I have such anxiety about tomorrow.”


When I woke, it was tomorrow. A day I had been sidestepping in my subconscious.


I couldn’t yet imagine how a day that was a celebration of my mother’s entry into the world would feel now that she was no longer physically with us.


So, I did what she told me in the last days of her life and went looking for her in the water.


Sleepy and shoe-less, we arrived at the beach with yesterday’s Easter flowers in hand and went to watch the sunrise. We flung hydrangeas and irises to the sea, and we watched the waves swell and I told my children their cousin said Sugar would come back as a wave so she could play with her. So, we watched the waves and sent videos to my niece, Lucy, of Sugar waving.


Then my daughter began to sing happy birthday. We all sang and as we finished the sun broke through the clouds and the dolphin appeared. And at that moment, I experienced perfection.


I was simultaneously jumping and crying, overcome by excitement and sadness.


My mother came.


I knew she would come, but a tiny piece of me was afraid she wouldn’t. I was worried that maybe I imagined her communicating with me. I was afraid that perhaps in my grief, I was clinging to false hope.


We forget the universe is mysterious and magical and wants us to believe in miracles. I don’t understand these mysteries, but it does seem like when we are most broken and open, that is when the miraculous appears. On a beach, on an ordinary day that seemed like it might be extraordinarily hard, the miraculous happened.


What a gift we can find our loved ones even after they transition. Perhaps, they are closer to us now than they were in life.


Today is a hard day.


Today is the best day.


Its sweetness mixed with sadness.


It is melancholy. It is bittersweet. It is perfection.


My mother came.


She has risen.


Happy 65th. Happy 1st.


Keep swimming, keep shining, keep showing us magic.