Is There Birthday Cake in Heaven?

Anna Ortiz Spencer
2 min readAug 15, 2022

“Count your life by smiles, not tears. Count your age by friends, not years.”

Is there birthday cake in heaven? I really want to know.

It’s been two years since you died, and I’m trying to resist the urge to phone or text to see how you’ll spend your day. It still doesn’t feel right, you not being here.

You would have been 65 this year. In some ways, it’s a milestone and maybe even the last one short of turning 100. As much as you loved working with kids, the idea of retirement was very much on the horizon. We talked about what it would be like to have more of the day to yourself and to have time to do the things you wanted. We talked about visits and taking in more of the grandchildren’s activities. Collectively, our family was about to enter a busy season of high school and college graduations…and after that new jobs, weddings, etc.

Instead, on your birthday weekend, we were together…as part of the second annual March to Remember to honor loved ones lost to COVID-19, those dealing with long COVID symptoms, and the medical community who continue to work hard as we go through this pandemic. Your granddaughter organized the Garden City portion of this national event. You would have been so proud! There were hugs, tears, memories, sorrow, laughter, joy —and eventually pizza, but no cake. We miss you, Mom. Happy Birthday. You are loved and so dearly missed.

Empty Chairs, Everywhere is a personal grief diary as I process the loss of my Mother to COVID-19.