Happy Birthday Mom!

Today’s my birthday, and I’m not sharing that to fish gifts or wishes, but to highlight something powerful that I discovered processing grief in the loss of my son, Adam.

So, a month or two ago, I woke up in the middle of the night with my head spinning. After tossing, turning, thinking, and some wee hours calculations on my phone, I figured out that on January 28, 2022, sometime before 11pm, Jude, my youngest, would become older than Adam ever had. I envisioned my birthday weekend, and a typical Friday pizza night celebration with that poignant shroud overhanging. A sucky sober contrast, I thought before I fell back to sleep.

Though it’s been there in the back of my head, I really haven’t thought about it that much since. But it didn’t play out that way anyway because Friday pizza night was canceled; and though I thought about making some sort of alternative celebratory plans, a developing snowstorm and hectic week at work were distracting. I went to bed Thursday night realizing I was going to spend Friday night on my birthday weekend home alone. … But around 2 am, sleepless again, an idea popped into my head, and later that morning, despite second guessing and sobering, more reasoned, and judgementally discouraging mind scripts, I created a Facebook Messenger group text thread that included some ladies I barely knew, even one I’d never met.

Hi all. I have a bday Sunday and usually do a family thing w my mom, etc on Fridays around bdays but she’s away so I’m solo. I did not plan anything bc impending snow but seems it will hold off. All of you here are somehow a part of my life since/because Adam and some of you I’ve been wanting to know more. If you happen to be free and would feel comfortable coming by to celebrate this evening casually with some booze I would love it. I totally understand it’s last minute and not everyone will feel comfortable but even if one or two can make it will be a nice Adam gift! I’ll have some wine and can order pizza or something. Very casual. No worries either way!💜  

A few showed, and it turned into one for the books… too much gossip, too much wine, too much laughter, too much cursing …my boys judging me for a change… Of course, we’re not in easy times, and we spoke about that too: a recent tragedy in the community, the world our kids are growing up in, anxiety and depression, school, etc. … an evening of contrasts.

At around 10:40 (still hours before we would shut down), one of the moms, someone I’d known my whole life but never been terribly close to (now cherished favorite party pal) commented, “Wow, Naomi. I am so glad you sent that text. When I got it I thought it couldn’t have been easy. And I knew I was coming… Good for you!” I admitted my insecurities and how I’d been sweating as I waited for a first response. … I also shared how much it meant to have them all there, and the poignant Jude milestone (likely happening in that very moment considering the timing of Adam’s death) alongside so much love and fun… such a contrast.

I learned a hugely helpful lesson about contrasts while I was grieving Adam, in that even in the middle of the worst thing that ever happened, there were moments of interspersed joys; and focusing my attention, being present to them, created an awareness that those lights were just as real as the darkness. I’m sure it’s that consciousness that enabled me to experience “best night ever” even in the exact precise moment of such a sober milestone these years later.

Then I got this text yesterday:

Thank you for last night Naomi. It was such a great night. So many laughs and just good conversation and company. I needed that. I actually didn’t know how much until today when I’m still laughing. All I can say is that last night was good for the soul!!  Happy Birthday!! Xoxo

Existing in contrasts… perhaps it’s something to generalize for these crazy times.

6 thoughts on “Happy Birthday Mom!

  1. Happy Birthday Nomes! Life is sobering and blessed, sometimes in joy and sometimes in grief. Those who have had the veil of eternity pulled back for a peek, know that the blessings are during times of both joy and grief. You have taught many of us.

    May your birthday be filled with joyful blessings.


  2. Wishing you a very HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY, Naomi! Obviously, you are living in the light and finding celebration in all areas of your life. Your friend, Myra (in Wimberley, TX)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Happy Birthday Naomi. I remember the day you were born and got Nana’s name! You have worn it proudly and we are all inspired by your courage, honesty and love. Has it ever occured to you that Naomi Pope Hickey buried her fourth child, Peach (also Naomi) when she was 5? I’ll bet she and Adam are heavenly friends. Love, Aunt Denise

    Liked by 1 person

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