Happy Birthday Mom

Tomorrow is my mom’s birthday… if she were alive she would be turning 66… but to me she will forever be 44. It is odd thinking about her aging… I have no clue what she would look like now.

On the way home from DFW today we were all talking in the car. Yesterday was my dad’s birthday and we gave him a call to see all the fun he had. When we hung up, I told Keaton “tomorrow is my mom’s bday.”

He replied “We should celebrate.”

Matthew agreed we should celebrate by getting a white cake with white frosting (mom’s favorite).

In the moment I shared with Keaton about my mom’s bday, I questioned if I should tell him. He talks about her often and his heart is so tender about the subject. His response let me know telling him was a good decision.

Tonight as I reflected on my hesitation to share with him, I realized if she has died any other way but suicide I would have shared… and I, we must all, talk about a death by suicide in the same way we do other deaths… or the stigma won’t end.

I know it might seem like a trivial thing but more and more I believe it is in the small conversations we make the biggest impact. Conversations during crisis are important, but I have to ask myself do I handle everyday conversations about suicide and mental health in the same way as any other type of death or physical health condition?

My hesitation today comes from decades of guilt and shame associated with suicide, but this guilt and shame will never stop until everyday conversations change.

My mom’s life deserves to be celebrated tomorrow. I deserve to celebrate my mom and I know Keaton deserves to celebrate a grandmother he never knew but who is so much part of his kind and compassionate heart.

So here is to the way Cecilia J Bigbee impacted my life and others for not only the 44 years she lived but for the 66 years her life has touched us all… even those she never met.

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