Today is my birthday.
But this year is different. Besides being my birthday, today is my first real “first” since my mom died. My first birthday without my mom.
Each year at the time of my birth my mom would call me and wish me Happy Birthday. Simple and yet so important. I headed over to the cemetery at that time this morning in the hopes of… well I’m not sure what I hoped but I didn’t know what else to do.
I sat and cried. I told my mom I forgave her for dying. Today is the first time I believed it. Then I heard this:
Puddin, this is not where you should be on your birthday. I would never want you to spend your birthday at my grave. Go do something fun!
It was a good message. I listened. I left.
And I realized something – I cannot live my life in the shadow of my mother’s death. Even just a little. Even though the lure to do it is overwhelming.
As I reflected on this realization I could see this wasn’t the first time I used shadows to hold me back, to hold my happy back, to hold my life back and each time I did that I was wrong.
Life is meant for expansion.
Of course grief is necessary – whether you are grieving your marriage, financial health or a mom – you deserve the time and space to grieve. But there is a difference between grief and living in the shadow of loss.
When I decided to define my birthday based on the loss of my mother I moved under the shadow. The shadow ain’t no good. So I took my laptop out to the porch and sat in the sun. (Literally I did this. I’m still not sure how to do it metaphorically.)
It helped. I felt a little better.
Soon after I went outside my husband came to me with a big bouquet of sunflowers. “I found these on the front porch” he said. They were from my dear friend Jen and here is what the card read:
Hope your day shines with a hundred kinds of birthday happiness!
Are you hanging out in the shadow of some loss? If you are I suggest you do something, anything to step out from under that shadow. Even if you don’t believe it will work just do something. Even if it literally means walking out into the sunshine.
If you do what you can to get out of the shadow, the Universe has a way of bringing in all kinds of helpers to take you the rest of the way!