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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: birthday (05/23/05)

TITLE: Birthdays Remebered
By Shari Armstrong
05/27/05


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Growing up, birthdays were always fun for my sister and me. Three things were certain: Mom would make our favorite meal and cake, we’d get a couple gifts from Mom and Dad and we’d get our birthday card from Grandma and Grandpa with two dollars in it. No more, no less, no matter how old we were. The only exception to this was after I graduated high school. My freshman year in college I got something better, a box of Grandma’s homemade apple bars. I was really popular in the cafeteria that day.

Grandma and Grandpa usually tried to come see us on our birthdays, until the hour and a half drive got to be too much for them, especially with my birthday being in January. The weather sometimes didn’t cooperate. But I didn’t mind having my birthday in January, because Grandpa’s birthday was two days after mine. As a child, I always thought that was great. The most memorable birthday visit was when my sister turned five and getting ready to start kindergarten. Grandpa gave her a box of sandwich bags. I’ll never forget the sight of my sister pulling out bag after bag, trying to see what Grandma and Grandpa got her that she thought was hidden in the bottom of the box. Grandpa just sat there grinning.

Grandma never forgot anyone’s birthday. Not only did she remember the six grandchildren, but all their nieces and nephews. Not an easy task since she had seven siblings. Grandpa only had one brother, so his side was a bit easier. Then of course, the grandkids started getting married to add the great-grandchildren and she remembered theirs, too. While I was pregnant with our daughter, Grandpa started to have health problems and the family had to make the decision to put him in a nursing home and Grandma in assisted living. Even through all the health problems she never forgot a birthday.

After Eileen was born in 2001, we took her to see them as often as possible. The first time, Grandpa just slid his arm over, and grinned, waiting for us to put her beside him on the bed. Time went on and he got weaker, his mind starting to wander. This was really hard to see, since until about five years earlier, he was still riding his bike around town. About a year later, we got the call on my husband’s birthday, just days after their 66th anniversary, that Grandpa had gone to heaven that morning. I cried as he held me and said that just this year we could celebrate his birthday next week. At the funeral, Grandma sat with a quiet smile on her face. As people gave their condolences, she would just say, “Thank you. I know I’ll see him again soon.”

Then came my birthday about six months later, and my card came. Not to my address but to Mom and Dad’s and no name on the envelope. She was starting to forget things, she knew it was someone’s birthday, but couldn’t remember who’s for sure. She’d also signed it from Grandma and Grandpa. I cried again. That was the last birthday card I got from them.

Right now it feels like history is repeating itself, because during my pregnancy with our son, Grandma had to be moved to a nursing home. We weren’t even sure she’s stay with us to meet Joshua, but she got to meet him couple months ago. Today three things are certain: Grandpa had his birthday in heaven, Grandma will be joining him for her birthday there soon, and God is providing the gift of eternal life and banquet in heaven for his family.


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This article has been read 2584 times
Member Comments
Member Date
A B05/30/05
Beautiful! I really enjoyed.
Michelle Burkhardt05/30/05
Nice story. The ending was rushed. Give your ending more time.
Phyllis Inniss 06/02/05
Yes, I liked this too. You told it in a refreshing way, like you were really reliving the experience.
Val Clark06/06/05
A lovely story. As one who only met one set of granparents once and can barely remember them I love to read stories that model a role for me - one day! Thanks for writing. It must have been a difficult yet beautiful experience for you.
Amy Michelle Wiley 06/09/05
This brings back memories of my grandma. She always remembered all twenty of her grandchildren's birthdays. My grandma went to heaven to join my grandpa two years ago.
Mishael Witty06/10/05
Very touching story, and very well-written. I can relate because we buried my grandmother on my birthday in 2003.
Shari Armstrong 02/27/06
Author's Note: My Grandma passed away on 6/16/2005, at 90 years young. I read "Birthdays Remembered" at her funeral service. As I read, I saw the rest of the family and friends nodding their heads, remembering all the birthday cards she sent them, too. It was a day of songs, memories and love and the knowledge that she's now in heaven.
Katee Lee05/28/06
Well done, Sis! Right from the heart! Congrats and much Thanks, even more so now!
Jacquelyn Horne04/25/07
Browsing again. Wonderful, touching story. Good writing for a beginning challenge.
Shari Armstrong 08/19/12
I also forgot to mention that one of my cousins had a baby on the day Grandma died and then her funeral was on our daughter's birthday that she shares with that same cousin, 6/18.