On Birthdays & Grief

On Birthdays & Grief

Feeling sad when you should be happy…

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Yesterday and today have been my Dad’s and Mum’s Birthdays, respectively. This is their first birthdays since my sister died. It’s felt so strange without her here, and the emptiness of missing her seems to be almost amplified by the fact that this is a ‘happy’ occasion.

I’ve tried to make it as special as I can for them, and I think they’ve enjoyed it, but all the while, there’s this sad undercurrent of loss; of what should be, and as much as I try to hide it, I miss her more than ever.

This time last year, she was already going massively downhill, health wise, but she was here. She was here to see presents opened, and to sing “Happy Birthday!” and to have a slice of cake.

This year, there was one voice fewer, to sing “Happy Birthday!” and we made a smaller cake, seeing as there was one less piece needed than last year.

I hate feeling like this. I feel so angry with myself for not being strong enough to just keep it all under control, and yet, this thing… this grief, is like nothing I’ve ever felt before, and every day, it feels like my heart is being ripped from my chest.

Every morning, when I wake up, for just a few moments before I fully reach consciousness, I forget. I roll over in bed, to get up and let the dogs out of her room, but as I move, I am pounced on by an exciter Cocker Spaniel, which brings me right back down to earth and I remember that she’s gone.

Some days are easier than others, and I thank God from the bottom of my heart, for the friends that have been there for me; who have hugged me; listened to me ugly cry; talked to me; made me laugh. Without them, it scares me to think where I would be now. If they’re reading this, they’ll know who they are. Thank you. I can’t say any more, and yet it seems so inadequate to just say this, but it’s all I have. You make it possible for me to face the days without her.

So, today, I will smile, and I will sing “Happy Birthday!” and I will try and give my Mum the best possible Birthday I can, because in the end, that’s all I can do, and I just have to hope that it’s good enough.


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

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