It’s My Birthday (And I’ll Cry Before The Day Is Done)


You’re probably reading the title of this blog post and wondering what it means. Does it mean I’ll cry happy tears or sad tears?

Why would someone cry on their birthday?

You’ve probably been ingrained to think that for someone who had lost their mum, Mother’s Day would the hardest day of the year to get through (if you’d given it much thought at all). Or their birthday. Maybe Christmas. Most people would assume that our birthday wouldn’t really be up there on the radar of the ‘hard to deal with’ days of the calendar year but for me it’s always been the most difficult day of the year to deal with the loss of mine.


Who makes the biggest deal of birthdays in your family? Think back to when you were younger and perhaps now as a parent. What do you remember about your birthdays? Was it your mum making you feel special with a lovely pile of presents and a planned celebration? Chances are it probably was. If you are a parent, you’ll know that your little one’s birthday is made particularly special for them because as a mum you make it so. Sure, dads also put in some effort but there is something to be said about mums and birthday celebrations and the ability to make it such a special day for their child.


Take that aspect of birthdays away and it can be a very hard day to get through without a few tears and the feeling of loss that can come and suffocate you at any time of the year but chooses what should be one of the happier days to do so.

After 13 years I do feel like I’m in a better place than I have been in the past. Two little men who make it clear that they adore me (plus an older one!) and I’m spoilt rotten in the love department and quite frankly, I’m so busy that it’s very easy to force it to the recess of my mind until something happens that reminds me of her or when life has become particularly challenging.

However, on my birthday it’s almost as if the flood gates open up wide and I’m reminded again of what I lost.

I remember birthdays being made to be so special. I’d wake up in the morning to presents all laid out for me, wrapped in beautiful wrapping papers that she had put almost as much thought into purchasing and lovingly wrapping as she had in what she had bought me, and trust me, she was an exquisite gift buyer. She loved things of beauty and that was reflected in every gift she ever bought anyone. Every birthday she would take the day off work and we would do something together before she would cook our favourite meal or we would go out somewhere for dinner.

Once I started working we would meet in the city for lunch (I particularly remember salmon and cream cheese croissants, cappucinos and something decadent, usually chocolate that we would share for dessert). This tradition happened every year, right up to my last birthday which happened to be my 21st and mum had organised a private event at my favourite restaurant. A 21st birthday is always a special event and milestone but it was made even more so by the fact that she had been sick for so long by this point (over 2 years off and on) but seemed to be in remission and was in good spirits, her hair having just grown back into a bob of dark curls that suited her even more than the blond Shona I had always known.

Little did we know at the time that she had only 4 months left to live.

This was the last photo ever taken of us.


And these are the last words she wrote to me, imprinted forever in my birthday book that was left that evening for the guests to sign and which she was the last to do so:

Dear Haidee,
You are everything a mother could ever want in a daughter and more. Not only that, but in your nature is an unconditional love that never changes. You’ve shared your life with me, we’ve hung out, shopped till I’ve dropped and drunk coffee, laughed and commiserated with each other. You never thought it was ‘uncool’ to be with your mum, or to have a cuddle or say ‘I love you’.
The comments in this book and the speeches made at Lone Star must surely convince you once and for all how loved and respected you are, by both friends and family. You have that ‘Wow’ factor too, that is a gift. Use it to pursue your dreams no matter what else happens. People who have let you down in the past don’t count. It’s the good people and the good things that you thank God for and keep close to you. One day there will be a very lucky man ( or two) who’ll appreciate you fully, quirks and all, simply because you’re ‘Haidee’.
It goes without saying that I love you and I’m very proud of you.
All my love,

This. This is what I lost when she died and gives you a rare insight into our relationship.

This is why I cry every birthday at least once, usually at night when the house has settled and everyone else is sleeping soundly in their beds and I’m alone with my thoughts.

This is what I miss.

This is why today is my birthday but I’ll cry before the day is done.


Post Word:

Of course my entire birthday is not a sad affair! Birthdays for motherless children and adults can exacerbate the loss they feel and bring up all sorts of emotion which is what this post is about but past that, I have wonderful moments and appreciate all the birthday love that’s given to me.

And in memory I still indulge in a decadent sweet treat for morning tea, I just get to eat the whole thing myself!

With Some Grace

27 thoughts on “It’s My Birthday (And I’ll Cry Before The Day Is Done)

  1. Happy birthday Haidee x

    I understand the shadow that a lost parent can cast over birthdays. I lost my Dad just over a month before my 40th birthday last year. It was really, really hard because of so many factors. I missed the morning phone call we would always have. I missed the bear hug we would share. I missed the gentle ribbing that he would give me over growing older and that I would give back to him for his age too. It was even harder because it was still so raw & new at that stage. I was also torn between wanting to celebrate a milestone birthday but also just wanting to ignore the world and grieve in peace. And I know future birthdays will always be hard too because of the simple fact that he isn’t here with me anymore.

    The photo and the beautiful words left by your mum are wonderful memories that you will always be able to hold onto, even though you still miss her like crazy. I hope you can still enjoy your day x
    Kirsty @ My Home Truths recently posted…Special needs parents: it’s okay to admit things are hardMy Profile

  2. What a beautiful note she left. I understand what you mean – everyone expects me to be sad on Father’s Day, or my dad’s birthday, or the anniversary of his death, and I am. But other days are just as hard, if not harder. I find the kids’ birthdays difficult because I can so easily imagine the fun grandpa he’d be.
    Love to you today. Thank you for sharing this post. And happy birthday. x
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  3. Wow what absolutely beautiful words from your mum. She sounds like such an insightful lady. You have some really lovely memories and now you get to take those words and carry on her legacy with your own family knowing she will always be with you as she is always part of you. Happy birthday Haidee.

  4. Haidee, That is exactly how I feel. And it has been 17 years since I lost my mum and last year I hit the big 40. The big consolation in missing my mum so very much is knowing that the reason it hurts was because I was so bloody lucky. Sounds like you were lucky too. Beautiful words xx

  5. Dear dear Haidee… What a sad but oh so beautiful post for your birthday and how you’ve honoured your mum. She’s one very special person & reading her letter to you just proves that! Many many happy returns today …Denyse x

  6. Happy Birthday friend!
    I’m so sorry for your loss…. I am and I can relate very much as I also lost my mom long time ago. I know what you mean about moms and birthdays, I had a special relationship with mine and birthdays were always magical. The letter your mom wrote you is beautiful, how nice that you have it to remember! Hugs to you!
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  7. Oh… you made me crying too.
    What a beautiful relationship you had with your mum.
    I’m so sorry for your loss.
    Happy birthday,
    your mum was right….
    You found more than one gorgeous man to make you smile today

  8. Wow, I’d never thought of birthdays in this way. I’m not that fussed about my own birthday, I don’t really like being the center of attention but my mum loves them and I’ll be honest, until I read this, I didn’t really get it. Thanks for helping me think in a different way.
    And happy birthday x

  9. I don’t really know you apart from reading your blog but I have tears forming in my eyes after reading your mum’s letter. What a beautiful letter for her to write to you. I can imagine how emotional and significant this letter must be for you, especially on your birthday.

    If it is in any way possible I am sure your mother will be in heaven looking over you, following your journey through life, proud as anything of you!
    Ingrid @ Fabulous and Fun Life recently posted…Rimmel The Only 1 Lipstick Range – Review & SwatchesMy Profile

  10. Yep sobbing mess here. I totally get it. My Dad’s birthday was the day before mine and I used to always have the jokes of “your bloody mother didn’t push hard enough”. I miss him and those jokes so much! Even though he’d always ring on his birthday to wish me a happy birthday…

  11. Oh Haidee. How beautiful was your Mum? I read on FB just now that you got through through your birthday without crying. I guess that’s a good thing but you know even if you did, that would be good too. Someone once told me that it’s the spirit of your loved one who has passed, reaching out to you that stirs those emotions. It’s like the spirit is helping you grieve. I like to think of it that way. Happy belated birthday to you! Such a beautiful post 🙂
    Shauna recently posted…Childhood things I just can’t part withMy Profile

  12. Haidee, sending you tons of love. Your Mom sounds like a fantastic person. I’m so sorry that you lost her, but I am so envious that you had that, and happy that you did-at the same time. I love my mom, but I’ve never had this with her, she does amazing things, but we’ve never had a relationship like this. I am envious, but I’m so happy that your mom packed so much love into the 21 years you had with her. It’s a tribute to the relationship that you miss her as you do. You will carry that on with your kids, and they will carry it on with theirs. Your mom started a wonderful legacy, a treasure. Hugs to you today.
    Nikki Frank-Hamilton recently posted…#WAYWOW 40 Can you believe it? We’ve been at this a while!My Profile

  13. This made me cry. I cannot imagine life without my Mum. I know one day I will have to deal but please, not any time soon.
    I think I pretty much cry on any special occasion, for loved ones we no longer share them with. Although it’s sad, it’s also a great comfort to have loved and been loved so deeply.

  14. So sad Haidee… I too lost my mum – only 18 months ago – and my birthday is the 11th of May which is always near Mother’s Day, and often our family celebrations are (were) integrated. It’s a very sad time and one when I miss her all the more. Sending lots of love xx

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