On a Friday, I bought the last birthday card I will ever give to my mom. Her birthday and Mother's Day fell on the same date this year, Sunday, 13 May. After a very brief illness, Mom died on the evening of the very next day, surrounded by the family she loved.
On that Sunday, we were all there to see Mom open the cards which would mark her 81st birthday, as well as the cards for Mother's Day. Mom was wearing an oxygen mask which was helping her breathe, so she could not put on her eyeglasses. Mom was too weak to read out the verses and personal messages written inside, so I stood by the side of her bed and read them aloud to her. Tears welled up in her eyes, as I opened each card, and her lips moved in whispers as I recited the verse. She took the cards in hand, and ran her fingers over the surface of them. Some of the cards had colourful flocking or little sparkles, others had scalloped edges or ribbon. Each one delighted her in its own way.
After I read out the cards, we placed them on her window sill next to her bed, and there they stood until Mom was gone, and we had to leave the hospital, on Monday night. No more will Mom gaze upon them. She will never again read out the verses, or run her hand over the cards' crafted edges. Never again will she display them across the top of her piano, and then pack them away with all of her other birthday cards, in the small blue case Mom kept under her bed.
Never again will I go to the card shop to buy a birthday card to give to Mom, a card with a pretty cover, and a poetic verse. Never again will I see the smile come over her lips, as she reads the words of love meant only for her.
It was the last birthday card.
Mary Jane Teresa Ball Geraghty
13 May 1931 - 14 May 2012