Happy Birthday, Sally Lou – Live in the Sunshine

Today is my mom’s birthday. Or should I say was her birthdate since she is in Heaven now. I, however, do believe that they celebrate their birthdate and their crossing-date, equally. Although we here believe the crossing date is a sad one, to those who cross, it is a gift of life, not death. No pain. No sadness. Truly living.

My mom, Sally Lou McLaughlin (Schiller), lived a fairly simple life. She would often tell me stories of her lack of toys, her fondness of music and the love she had for her family. She was shy in social settings, but opinionated and intuitive. By the age of 41, she had lost her whole family, both brothers, her mom and her dad and felt like an orphan. After that it was rare that she could see over the cloud of depression and sadness that wrapped tightly around her. “I wish there was family for you, Kristy,” she would say to me. With my constant reply of, “But mom, I just need this family.” But for her, it wasn’t enough. It wasn’t how she pictured it.

Books were her escape and when her sight was taken from her, she seemed to lose everything that she ever loved, and told me that many times. Despite having my dad, me, my sister and my brother – she couldn’t move past all she had lost to see all that she had. And although there were many times I would get angry with her for sitting in the cloud of depression. Exhausted by her negativity and worry. I couldn’t, and still can’t, judge her because what she was going through was hers and nobody could fix it except for her. I didn’t have the magic word or a potion that could bring back her family, her health or her soul and spirit.

Two days before she passed away, I sat at her bedside holding her hand. “I want to go home…,” she told me as I told her how much I loved and missed her. I wiped back the tears with the back of my hand, trying hard to keep my voice from shaking. Swallowing my sobs, I reassured her that we were trying to get her home and soon. She squeezed my hand and whispered, “Not that home.”

And so today would have been her 77th birthday and she is home and celebrating with her family. She loved Cool Whip more than cake and lots of sparkles and bling. She always loved the sun and wanted to be by the water, toes in the sand and a book in her hand. And I’m sure that her birthday today will be perfect.

Happy Birthday, mom. I still miss you.



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