Happy birthday to my mom up in heaven. Even though my mom is no longer with us, I still want to celebrate her today because if she wasn’t born, there would be no me or my brother or my niece or so many great things.

I miss my mom every day, and just because I don’t talk about it much doesn’t mean it gets any easier. I went back to work quickly after she died because getting back into a routine made it less unbearable.

Grief is a long-winding, complex process with no shortcuts. One minute you’re fine and the next you’re not, but life goes on and I know my mom wouldn’t want me, my brother and dad to be eternally sad. I often feel like I’m on autopilot and numb when it comes to her passing. It doesn’t get easier each year although you create new memories and time does heal things to an extent. This past year was hard for me personally and professionally and there were many times I wish I had my mom beside me. Life can be really unfair.

My mom always taught me to go after what I want, to believe in myself and to embrace who I am. We were in many ways very different, but I got my drive and feisty spirit from her.

So happy birthday to my mom – you were a strong, smart, kind person, you helped shape me into who I am, and I miss you every day.

I know I’m not the only one grappling with grief. Remember it’s okay to not be okay all of the time.