I celebrated my 28th birthday last Sunday. It was an amazing day and weekend full of family, friends, and food…tons of food. I got to talk to family members that live far away and surround myself with as much love as possible. But, for as amazing as this day was, there were people missing.
I often find myself thinking on milestones like birthdays, what would my mom and dad be doing with me during the event? Would my mom have made me one of her famous cakes or bought me one? Would my dad have made me a special song about turning 28? What gifts would they have gotten me? Birthdays in our family were always a big deal. Balloons, homemade character cakes (even a Barbie cake on my 17th Birthday), and lots of time spent together as a family. Birthdays are one of these days I miss my parents because I wish that they could impart some sort of 28 year old wisdom.
This year, I thought about what my parents were like when they were 28. My mom was a newly married to my dad when she turned 28. She had started her career, fallen in love, and from the stories I have heard and pictures I have seen, I can tell she was living her beautiful life to the fullest. I often wonder how similar were we really? I too have started my career, fallen in love, and try to enjoy life as much as possible. I always knew my mom and I were similar, but I just wonder what else I do I not know? Will I ever know?
These are the kinds of questions my grief has been presenting to me recently. I am thankful that I have people I can talk to and people out there who seem to be listening to my thoughts. As I mentioned in a recent presentation on adolescent grief, losses that we experience as children and teenagers never leave us. Our grief changes, just as we do and morphs into what we need it to be during each developmental stage of our life. Grief does not stay the same, it is not stagnant. It moves with us throughout our life. For those of us who experienced death early in life, we just live with it longer than others.