Unhappy Birthday to Me

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Tomorrow is my birthday and for the first time in my entire life, I’m dreading it. I wish I could slow down the clock and tomorrow would never come.

It’s not because I’m turning a year older. I’m turning 31, and that doesn’t bother me at all. I sighed a breath of relief when I turned 30 last year and could put the turmoil of my 20′s behind me.

I’ve got a knot in my stomach just trying to type out the words about why this is so hard. My grandmother is gone forever and tomorrow I’ll face up to that fact like no other day.

For the past several months since she died in June, I’ve shoved my head into the sand and totally denied she was gone.

Tomorrow I can’t do that.

I wrote before about how close I was to her. She lived with us for weeks on a time growing up. She was there for every big day like school plays, events and graduation. She came when I moved into my dorm room. I begged my mom to bring her to visit when I was away at school. She came to our apartment the night I went into labor with Cora and then told everyone she “scared me into labor.”

After I gave birth, I wanted to make sure she was sent pictures of Cora right away.

When Cora died, my aunt rushed her to my house. At Cora’s funeral, she was my rock, clamoring to come talk to me before I gave the eulogy even though I insisted on being alone. 

Ben and I with Granny at our wedding.

She died quite suddenly. There were no good bye’s. She was old, sure, but she hadn’t really been sick. Not that it matters.

Perhaps most famously of all of granny’s traditions, my grandmother called all of her children and grandchildren on their birthdays and sang a roaring rendition of “Happy Birthday” in her scratchy smoker’s voice

I used to let her calls on my birthday go to my voice mail so I could play her birthday song over and over to anyone around.

She never missed a year. Occasionally, she’d call later in the day than usual. I’d lament that it just wasn’t my birthday until my grandma called. She always called. Always. All 30 years.

Until this year.

It’s just not going to be my birthday without her.

I try to stay away from pity parties and focus on the good, 30 years with her, 30 birthday songs. But, tonight, I’m throwing a full-on pity party.

I miss her.

Thankful my little sister took this video of Granny singing happy birthday to her. I think I’ll play it over and over tomorrow, if I can handle it.

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About Kristine

I answer most proudly to "Cora's Mom." After losing Cora in 2009, I've become a passionate newborn health advocate. I'm also an author and speaker. Cora's story is also my story, as I carry her with me everywhere I go. Her memory will never die.