I completely forgot! It was Natasha’s birthday recently and I completely forgot. In the 4 years since her death, I forgot her birthday for the first time. I only remembered a couple of days later when my daughter was asking about her scheduled activities.
I wasn’t even particularly busy, I just simply forgot. Does this mean that the grief is passing, or that it is just part of being absented-minded? I mean, it’s hardly the first time I forgot someone’s birthday, yet, this feels different. I am just not nearly as fearful about the future as I once was. Finances have slightly improved, so of course I am happier overall, but is the grief truly passing? Does it ever really go away? Every now and then, I feel like it is passing and that I am starting to feel better than ever, and I mean ever.
Losing my wife and my in-laws erected enormous blocks of grief, suffering and anger to lift and toss aside. As my therapists predicted, as I continue to work through my grief, my confidence grows and grows. I am more confident than I have ever been which is quite sad in a way. Natasha helped more than anyone in terms of letting go of negative thinking patterns and embracing joy—but she is not here to see how confident I am today. That really sucks! Natasha will never get to see how my new confidence has made me a better man, a better son and a better father.
As I continue to build more confidence, I am reminded every now and then that my grief is just under the surface. Today’s reminder is the upcoming arrival of Mother’s Day aka, Dead Mother’s Day.
Natasha loved to go out for brunch on Mother’s Day, well, I guess it’s more accurate to say that she enjoyed Mother’s Day brunch on both of her Mother’s Days—since she only was a mother for only 2 years. For the 2 years that Natasha was a mother, even though she battled cancer and post-partum depression, we still made an effort on Mother’s Day to have brunch. Mother’s Day brunch is different now because our table has only 2 people, no mother, and, we are surrounded by happy, boisterous mothers and their families.
Sometimes, I try to feed off their happiness and practice gratitude and abundance. I push myself to find things to be grateful for such as, being Canadian and my daughter’s love. Yet, I do find myself being triggered by Mother’s Day brunch families, so sometimes I find redefining the day is helpful.
I like to buy her a gift from her mother. So, we jump on the bus, and in 20 minutes, my daughter is strutting through the doors of Toyz 'R’ Us all ready to pounce on a toy. I don’t tell her that it’s from her mom because, at least at this point, I don’t want to train my daughter to miss someone she doesn’t even remember. I can carry missing her mom for the both of us, allowing her to make Mother’s Day cards for my sister and bask in the love of her fantastic aunt. Because of my great sister, my daughter is not missing the love of a strong woman.
I never shy away from talking about Natasha with our daughter, but I choose not to talk about it with her unless she asks. Hopefully, I am doing right by my daughter and not allowing my grief to skew my parenting.