My mother’s first child (my baby sister) was born the day before my mother’s birthday and had the cord around her neck when she was born. Back in the 1950’s, it was a lot more serious than these days. My sister lived for about two weeks then passed away.
I grew up knowing my mother’s birthday was not pleasant for my Mom. I’d find her weeping and not wanting to talk about it.
When I was 18, I looked up where my sister was buried and visited it. I told my Mom I had visited the grave and her response was “I don’t even know what It looks like,” because she just couldn’t bring herself to visit… it was too much for her.
Years later I took both my kids and I took a picture from the back of them clearing twigs away from the stone marker (no headstones for infants… the cemetery policy). I then blew it up and found a nice frame.
I had the kids hand it to her. She looked at it and said…
“Well isn’t that nice… where are they?… is that?…” Slow recognition comes across her face
And I replied “Well you said that you’ve never even seen it. I wanted to show you how beautiful it is.”
The release of emotion lasted awhile… Mom kept crying and hugging me/thanking me.
About an hour after that I found my father in the living room looking at the picture with a tear running down his cheek. He looked at me and almost whispered “I’ve never seen it either.”
The picture now sits in the middle of their mantel surrounded by pictures of their grandkids. Mom now smiles on her birthday and thanks me every year for the picture.
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