On the drive home from work the other day, UB40’s Kingston Town came on the radio. It was the day before my birthday and that song is one of those songs that instantly reminds me of Mum. It hit me really hard and made me emotional.

On my birthday this year, Sam and I went to Brighton for the day. We had lunch and drinks and wandered along the seafront and the pier. It was really lovely. It was hot, it was fun, we took silly photos on the pier and we sat in a sunny pub garden. We then had some family over for dinner. I wanted to find a way to represent Mum that day, so I wore certain jewellery and her perfume. I also got all the past birthday cards out she’s gotten me over the years and put them out with my other cards.

Every year from my 18th, Mum bought me as many presents as how old I was. She would buy me 4-5 “big” presents and then like 14-20 little things like deodorant, false eyelashes, socks, sweeties. Stuff like that. She always used to wrap my presents in Disney Princess paper and would put sequins or glitter in the box. Mum took me out for breakfast together every year, and we’d always make something special for dinner. Mum always came out with my friends and me at the weekend for birthday drinks. She’d go home after a couple of J20s and then come back and take me home later – with a routine trip to McDonald’s.

I’ve had three birthdays since Mum passed away, and I haven’t felt particularly sad on the day because I’ve always had really great things to do (lovingly arranged by Sam), so it’s like a distraction on the day. I guess I also feel like it’s just another day that my Mum’s still dead. What sucks is that I always miss her and I always yearn for her presence. Every day of the year.

Mum’s birthday is four days after mine. I’ve tried to celebrate her birthday each time since she’s passed away. in 2018, Sam and I went to Brighton for the weekend. It was Sam’s graduation from university on Friday (Mum’s birthday) and Brighton’s Pride parade happened on the Saturday. It was a weekend filled with love, celebration, and togetherness. In 2019, I went out with my friends for my birthday. I wore Mum’s perfume, my necklace with her ashes and fingerprint, and we raised a glass for her. This year, I’m getting my commemorative tattoo done and then I’ll visit the cemetery where some of Mum’s ashes are interred.

I’m also going to bake a cake and sit on my balcony in the sunshine.

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