You know how when you have a baby, you imagine all the milestones in their life. Walking, school, driving, sweet 16, turning 21, etc…Now the milestones past sweet 16 are gone for Dallas. She will forever be frozen in time at 20. No more pictures of her as a 30 year old with children, in mid-life with her own grandchildren, or growing old with the love of her life. Those were stolen from her by addiction.
I debated on what I would do for her birthday. Do you try to suck it up and celebrate their life and the good times? Do you cry all day in a ball in the bed? Do you sit at the cemetery and stare at the headstone? So many choices, and a milestone birthday.
In the end, I took the advice of another grieving mom and decided to celebrate. The date of her passing will never be a celebration, but her birth and coming into the world forever changing mine would be as happy as I could muster. I think as years pass this may become easier.
I took the day off work and began with breakfast at Chick-Fil-A, one of her favorite fast food places. I then went to a party store for balloons and decorations for the cemetery. This is where I finally let the tears of months flow. Later, I felt so sorry for the workers. What must they have thought about a mom sobbing on the happy 21st birthday aisle. I couldn’t even gather myself to explain why. This should of been a happy celebration.
I carried yellow (her favorite color) balloons, a big Happy 21st Birthday balloon, and a colorful centerpiece that was weighted down. I decorated with the tears finally drying up. I sat on her bench in the shade of the big trees and talked to her for a while. Letting her know how proud I was for all the struggles she put up against this evil drug. I thought about all of the pain she endured through 3 surgeries, two of them being major open heart surgeries. I played my new favorite contemporary Christian songs and read a book I had brought along. I ended up there for almost 3 hours. It was so quiet and peaceful. I then went and ate at Arby’s. The place I ate at so many times in CA while pregnant with her. (She hated Arby’s by the way) Yes, my memories revolve around eating a lot of times.
That night I had invited several of my “new” friends that are a huge support to me. We met at her favorite restaurant, Texas Roadhouse. I had let Madelyn pick out a birthday cake for her Mommy in the sky. We all ate and visited and then it was time to sing. Her baby girl did a great job singing to Mommy. We ate cake and laughed.
I hope Dallas enjoyed her birthday in Heaven and I’m sure it was so much better than here on this cruel Earth. I know she would be proud of how we celebrated her life here with us, too.