Birthdays: Dead or Alive?

Mom’s 100th birthday was last month although she died at age 94. She celebrated her birthdays without fanfare, once refusing a party and then spending her birthday alone to avoid favoring any of her children. She relented for a 90th birthday bash at the Space Needle with over forty family members but it was billed as Fifty Years in Seattle and her age was never mentioned. She refused to save money on a Senior ski ticket because she would never wear one. At age 72, when she skied down black diamond runs with my three sons while I snowplowed down green cat tracks, son Dustin wondered why I was not humiliated. But Mom was always a better skier than me. Big deal. She was smarter and kinder than me too. I suggested we emphasize Mom’s remarkable skiing, rather than my shortcomings. But Dustin felt we could celebrate both those attributes.

A few years after my brother Jamie died, I organized a 65th birthday party at his gravesite where we roasted marshmallows, drank Jack Daniels, and smoked cigars, basically consuming all the things that killed him. I tried to arrange a posthumous Sixty Years in Seattle party for Mom but my sister Mary staged an intervention by generously hosting my own 75th birthday party in an effort to distract me from arranging parties for dead people. I awarded $75 prizes to the attendees who came closest to guessing my weight and the steps on my Fitbit. I know Mom would be horrified at such vulgarity because even my wife was. But I was not bragging because I actually gained four pounds since my last birthday. At that rate, I will be sixty pounds heavier at my 90th birthday party. By then we will be guessing my IQ when I died.

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53 thoughts on “Birthdays: Dead or Alive?

  1. I think forever figuring out is good for the mind and great for the soul that is ever learning. I’ll just wish you Happy Birthday, Geoff, early or belated, and may you have many more. Hilarious writing! Thanks for the laughs. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We’ve never had a dead birthday party in our family, but the idea has merit. I am going to check with Party City and see if they have a line or collection of dead birthday party plates, balloons, etc. Although now that I think of it, as long as everything is in black that probably covers it.

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  3. You make me laugh. “consuming all the things that killed him” is the best memorial party for him. I totally agree. I heard of interesting funerals, which were arranged exactly like what the deceased had wished that nobody should cry and everybody should eat. So it is a big banquet with the favorite food of the people who passed away.

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  4. We threw my mother-in-law a 90th birthday party. On the day of the party, one of her grandchildren discovered she was actually 91. I don’t know why I find that so humorous, but I do. She was so adamant that she was 90 that we all played along. What were we supposed to say to the guests? “Sorry to lure you here under false pretenses. You can all go home now. You’re a year late.”🀣

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Being too cheap to spring for a dead birthday card, I see nothing wrong with sending an email. I’ve been sending my dead uncle links to your blog for months. The only reason he hasn’t commented on you posts is that you don’t have enough nearly nude girls in them. He was of an age…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I am reluctant to start celebrating birthdays of the dead. I have enough trouble remembering birthdays of the living, so I maintain a strict policy of “must be present to win”.

    For my own birthday celebrations I try to consume all of the things that will probably kill me, so it’s similar to your practice, if a little early.

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  7. I love this! Gives me some great ideas for time along the way. I just celebrated 60 and at first was not interested, but had a great time with those close to me. I am definitely going to have fun games at my next milestone.

    lol, and I kind of loved you celebrating your brother. When it is my mom’s turn, and she has met our creator, I am just going to bring a bunch of coupons so she won’t miss what is on sale for the week. Donna

    Liked by 1 person

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