Christmas was difficult but maybe made easier by the haze of grief that still covered every waking moment and allowed a shield of numbness to protect me from the pain of Mom's absence.
That fog of initial grief has lifted a little now what with the coming of spring, the return of longer days and brighter sunshine penetrating through the emotional darkness.
With spring also comes my first birthday without Mom and this I am finding much more difficult than the holiday season.
My mother was all about birthdays.
Even more so in the last few years I think. She insisted on cooking our favourite Mommy meals for birthday dinner and providing our favourite birthday cake (or Mommy made pie in my case) for dessert.
My brother's birthday was the first without Mom.
It was just last month and so also came without the easy cloak of encompassing grief to protect all of us.
I tried my best to fill in for Mom. I pulled out Her recipe for lasagna and stressed and fretted that I would somehow screw it up and we would feel Her absence even more through a botched attempt at pasta impersonation.
I made sure we had store bought garlic bread and Baskin-Robbins chocolate and peanut butter cake for dessert.
Mom's lasagna recipe is more Irish-Canadian than Italian and store bought garlic bread is an aberration to my "from scratch" sensibilities. But on birthdays that was never the point.
The point was Mom's cooking. It was the love that came through Her food. It was the joy She took in having Her children with Her on the anniversary of the day She welcomed them into the world.
There is no one here to attempt to make Mom's pizza for me today; to bake me birthday pie.
No one is remembering April 28th 32 years ago and all the April 28th's since.
It might be selfish, but maybe today I have a right to be. Mom would think so.
My birthday is more difficult than Christmas.