Today would have been my elder daughter’s birthday. She was born on Thanksgiving Day decades ago. The hospital staff was preparing a turkey dinner for the new mothers, and I was very aware of the tantalizing smells while I was in labor. I wanted to eat that dinner, but could not.
How am I going to honor my daughter’s life?
First, I am going to focus on thankfulness for having her in my life. She became a composite engineer, had five additional engineering certificates, earned her MBA, and was supervising thee production lines for a Minnesota manufacturing company when she died. Shipping generators to Iraq was one of the last things she did.
Second, I am going to enjoy my twin grandchildren. My daughter did an excellent job of teaching them our family values: education, hard work, honesty, giving back. The twins are high school seniors, straight A students, and researching colleges. Being their guardian has changed my life. When they leave for college my husband and I will be empty nesters again and it will be painful.
Third, I will try to be a role model for my grandchildren. The twins have lived with us for two and a half years. Though the kids share few personal thoughts, they are keen observers. They know I love to cook, love to write, and have a caregiving type of personality. “You care more about other people’s birthdays than your own,” my granddaughter observed.
Fourth, I will appreciate the miracle of life. After four loved ones died within nine months, it was all I could do to get through a day. I didn’t celebrate the miracle of life. But this day is mine – a day of reflection, a day of gratefulness, a day to celebrate the miracle of my daughter’s life and our grandchildren. As Margaret Mead once said, “The closest friends I have made all through live have been people who also grew up close to a loved and loving grandmother or grandfather.”
So I will celebrate my daughter’s life by loving her children even more.