Over the last few weeks, my anxiety over my birthday and Mother's Day grew. If I could have chosen to skip those days I would have. Not because I don't want to celebrate my family and my additional year of life, but because this is my first of these days as a mother to a dead baby. Since I turned 30 I have enjoyed my birthdays because life has improved with each year. This year I was conflicted about this feeling. I am still incredibly blessed and thankful for my life. It all just comes back to wishing that Alaska hadn't died, knowing that I can't change this reality, and remembering to live with joy anyway.
These special days mark the time in a more significant way than any other milestone we've reached: Life goes on and on and on and on until it doesn't. Of course I knew that it wouldn't work to pretend that yesterday was just a normal day. Instead of skipping it, I ignored my phone and spent the day with my family. We planted flowers for Alaska and did some yard work in the rain. I opened my cards and gifts from my sweet boys and Brandon. We cooked and ate cheese cake and watched a movie. I continued to read The Magicians by Lev Grossman (the first book other than Looking for Alaska that has fully captured my attention since Alaska died).
When I wrote in my Alaska journal last night, I was nervous about what to write, but once I started with "Dear Mommy," the rest of Alaska's letter to me wrote itself. And in that letter, her gift to me was revealed--the big rock that Brandon and Elliott uncovered as they dug holes for Alaska's roses.
Now that I have some perspective (with a heavy dose of acceptance on this grief journey), I know that I couldn't have had a better 32nd birthday. Well, part of me knows that. Another part of me still resists reality.