happy birthday to me at nautilus teachings

there is a glow
emanating from the
large number of lit candles
placed upon the table
underneath the revolving fan blades
put on low
so as to not
rush the burning of
the moment…
sweat drips down
the aged temples
of the woman
sitting there
a complete life…
her life is full.
she is blessed.
inside her a battle loomed
between imagined death
and dreamed continual breath
until the day,
she would make the call,
“God, you can now take me home…”
the emission glows
reflecting small eye wrinkles
family gathered for the celebration
smile, nod their heads
in acknowledgement
of their aging mother
knowing she has their backs
loves them unconditionally
and she understands
growth is needed in life.
the song continues on…
‘happy birthday to you…’
she closes her eyes
makes a private wish
for health and long life,
then glances around the table
seeing pieces of her heart
gathered in celebration
of her…
she takes in a deep breath
thanks God for her blessings
gently blows out the flames
closes her eyes
as her heart skips a beat
and the words from her mother
caress her soul,
‘it is not the end dear heart, it is the beginning…’

what makes you blush
takes your breath away
leaves you speechless?
is there a dream
tugging at your heart
a friend, relative you still
wish to hug
just one more time
a conversation you need to have
do you need to forgive,
the light warming out faces
paints our souls
as our hands grasp tightly
the unteathering
as another years reel
of recorded heart memories
awaits to be opened,
heard, seen, listened to,
in the quiet moments
in this last week of newness
that i am given the
priceless gift of watching
our grandson,
as he arrives early,
eyes still sleepy
i gaze at him next to me,
he appears to be taking
his ole’ granny in,
we smile at the same time
our eyes lock
and i am lost
happy tears stream
down my cheeks
as i hold my breath
taking a memory photo
of this moment
and praising God for
this tiny miracle…
i tell Ry all the angels
are around him
kissing and protecting him
that grandma angels
is with him always-
he pushes his binky out
of his tiny pink lips
looks me in the eye
gives me a big smile
and begins to coo…
i take this as a sign from
mom and God that, yes
she is always near.

i am a believer of God
of angels,
i believe in the Holy Spirit
visiting me
as it has done my whole life…
i don’t feel death surrounding me
as i thought would be the case.
i truly believed i too was doomed
to take my last breath in my 55th
year of life.
i have had all my testing done
from colonoscopy
to mammogram,
complete physical
and blood work up
and for the 12th year in a row
my doctor looks at me
with a smile upon her face
and utters those words,
‘sheri, you are not dying.
you do not have cancer
or leukemia. keep doing
what you are doing
and enjoy your life…’
so as i baby step my way
through my 55th birthday week
as i feel my whole life
on the threshold of
big changes
as my kids gather
around my mothers table
in celebration of me,
as friends pop over
with flowers and wishes
and social media
bing bing bings me
with more friends
saying happy birthday
i have to pause
take a deep breath
and try not to
break into tears,
yet, eventually they do
as i let them seep from the
corners of my eyes
sniff sniff sniff my nose
blink my eyelids
listen to baby music
watch my grandson sleep
in the same room
with my grown up
baby girl still herself in dreamland,
boys at her side
while d is off to work
helping people,
Ry’s mom is working
her last few days of teaching
for the year,
his daddy up in JAX
designing fabulous graphics
for customers
i once again
remember the glow
of the candles
the feel of warmth
that encompass me
as i allow the words
happy birthday to sink in…

as i inhale that one
deep breath
close my eyes
blow out my candles
open my eyes
to see smiles
and hear cheers
i melt
into a blubbering mess
as they all giggle
hug me
and then the card,
‘i have the best mother in the world’
from my son and his beautiful wife…
and d’s words,
‘i am so grateful for you all.
look at the blessings i get to have
in my life. i love you all.’
this is what family is.
near or far,
happy birthday to me!