It must be my work that causes this, but I'm much more sensitive to birthdays and anniversaries of loved ones I've lost. On my father's birthday, April 6th, I was doing a start of care and couldn't think of anyone else except my own father. It was hard to be or stay in the moment. I was busy that day and had little time for reflection.
I've been thinking about my mom a lot this past week. She wasn't the easiest person to get along with, but that's often a two way street. Though we had weighty political discussions, she on the far right and me swinging to the left, we often glossed over saying the important things. It wasn't that I couldn't handle them. She couldn't. We never went where we should have with our times together (minefields can be dangerous). I never really thanked her, or forgave her for her motherly mistakes and I never asked her for forgiveness for the things I may have done to hurt her. I'm sorry for avoiding these discussions now because I can't change this.
Henrietta was a handful after my father passed away. What my newly hospice educated eyes now see is that she was grieving and at a complete loss without my dad around. She outlived him by four lonely years. When she died, my sister and I found a journal she had started and a few letters she'd written to my dad. It broke my heart to read her entries and to think that she could not discuss her feelings with us, though at times I think she tried. Certainly, she was someone who would have benefitted from professional bereavement support. Hindsight.
I've reflected quite a bit this week on forgiveness and letting go of feelings and hurts that go back 50 years, but to honor her, this is exactly what I'm working on. I'm thankful for the things she did give me: a work ethic, a moral compass, a love of music, ballroom dance, sports in general and hockey.
I've made a conscious effort to replace how she looked as she lay dying in her hospital bed with more positive memories. I much prefer the snapshot in my mind of her sitting around the piano bar of the St. Clair Inn and singing songs of old with my dad and their friends. This time of the year, she'd have been glued to the television watching playoff hockey and her beloved Detroit Red Wings.
Happy Birthday, Henri. You are missed.
This one's for you: