Over the years, every so often I don't hear from my parents on my birthday. Being busy or just plain forgetfulness. It used to offend me, but I got over it. They had three of us, and trying to keep those dates in mind can be difficult.
My grandmother's birthday is the day after mine. She was fifty years older than I. I sometimes wonder if she was still alive if she's succumbed to the same elderly madness that got her mother, which we called senility, but was probably Alzheimer's or Dementia. More than once, my mother would phone me on my grandmother's birthday, singing cheerfully to me.
"It's your mother's birthday, you senile old bat," I'd say after the fact. "Mine's the day before."
We'd laugh, and my mother would tell me to shut up about calling her old. Eventually, I'd speak to my father, and he'd say he tried to tell her the correct date, but that she got drunk and forgot. It was amusing.
It hasn't hurt my feelings that I've not heard from my father. My brother phoning me on birthday is something that happens only every few years, despite the fact I jingle both my siblings on theirs. When my sister phones, instead of sending a message in a bottle, we often talk for a couple of hours. It gives me warm fuzzies to hear from my daughter.
I remember on my sister's birthday, she knew she'd hear from me. In the past, she could count on that and the phoning from my mother. That was why this year was so strange. This year, and the years forever after, it was just going to be me. I agreed it was surreal, but the full implication didn't hit me. Well, not until the day before.
My phone does not ring that often, but that's because I am not one of those social types. Yet, every time it has over the last few days, I've half expected/wished/hoped I'd hear my mother's voice, despite knowing the impossibility of it. As the new day progresses, I deal with the cold acceptance that this is the one phone call that will never come. Ever again.