Birth Days and Death Days
Depending on when El Philipe posts this substitute blog, you will be reading this either on my birthday, or the day after. Those particular days are usually pretty low-key in the Conway casa, saving the real excitement for the grand’s birthdays, and Farmer Cathy’s of course, the Queen of la casa. There is an aura of poignancy for that day this year, however. For on that day 74 years ago, my Dear Mother would have been in the difficult process of delivering me, her first born son. Just exactly one week ago, turned out to be her Death Day. Even in the last years of the 99 she spent here on earth, she would remember to call me and wish me Happy Birthday. And now that day will come tomorrow and there will be no phone call from her. I’m not sure why the irony feels so heavy thinking of her condition all those years ago. She passed so peacefully away in this year of 2020, but in the year of 1946, there would not likely have been any really peaceful nights or days in this time period, given that I was a week or more “overdue”. She wasn’t conscious or cognizant enough to have been thinking about that birth all those years ago in these last days of her earthly life, but the two of us had talked about it on more than a few occasions.
How connected are they, these beginning and ending days of each of us? Blessedly, there are no events as secret and unknown as that day in all of our futures when we, too, slip the surly bonds of earth and move on to whatever is next. Mom’s goal had been “to live to be a hundred”. She may have had some strong premonitions about when her Death Day was going to be as she decided on her 99th Birthday that it was actually her 100th, and we had miscounted. She was quite adamant about it, stating often, “Well, dammit, I should know how old I am!” We couldn’t argue with that, and heartily wished her “Happy Hundredth” while cutting up her “Happy 99th” Birthday Cake. She took that mantle and ran with it, telling all her fellow residents, “I’m a hundred years old now, you know!” It gave her pride and pleasure, and we weren’t about to burst that happy bubble. So, Mom, and this 74th Birthday of mine, I’ll be thinking of your 100th. And smiling.