There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die…—ECCLESIASTES 3:1-2 (NIV)
My mother had been in the hospital for two months. I wanted to take her home, but things kept getting worse. I was her caregiver, so I went every day and cared for her there.
By the end of July, I knew she might not make it. I prayed, “If she has to go, please, not on my brother’s birthday.” Thank God, the day passed.
She drifted in and out of awareness and as the end of August neared, I prayed, “Please, not on my birthday.”
When I had the chance, I reminded her my birthday was only a few days away. “We’ll celebrate together,” I said.
It was the night before my birthday. The hospital was quiet, except for the sound of oxygen being forced into tired lungs. Her eyes had been closed all day. At midnight, I took her hand in mine and sang “Happy Birthday” to myself. I leaned in and whispered gratitude and love. I tried to set her mind at ease, saying I’d be okay.
Just as the day was dawning, she slipped away. Happy Birthday, I said to myself, as tears trickled down my cheeks. She’d brought me into this world on the very same day I saw her out. The circle of life. Complete.