Two years ago was my mom’s last birthday. We knew it. She knew it.
She barely had enough breath to blow the one candle on the pink frosted cupcake I bought her from the pink hotel across the water. The hotel that had welcomed my family when they first arrived from France, a lifetime ago.
Probably to make up for not being able to hold her and tell her sweet words, I had asked many people who loved her to send her a happy birthday video message. As she listened to one after the next, I’ll never know whether they brought her more joy than stress.
Last night, a wave of sadness crashed over me as I was about to dip my paintbrush in a jar of water. It kind of took my own breath away. It was physical before it became emotional. Or at least if felt that way.
Life keeps a tight calendar and very few big anniversaries go by completely quietly.
In a world more and more devoid of rituals, we don’t get to bypass all of them, and I am grateful for the built-in sacredness.