Today is my 39th birthday, my second birthday sans Chris. I scrolled backwards and read last year’s birthday entry (5/1/05) and, truth be told, everything still rings true.
The ominous view out my window , although relieving and comforting, mirrors the window into my soul this morning. The difference, this year, is that I have more control over my emotions. The relief that the rain brings at the precise moment will be easy enough for me to pick up and place back into storage and I have no doubt that this birthday will be a very happy one. Of course, my hope is that as time passes, I can transform the objects that prompt me to remember Chris and what we shared together from rain into sunshine. I have already begun.
My friends, Robby and Carol, with some prodding from me, agreed to take today off weeks ago to spend my birthday with me. I knew today would be a challenge so I placed the two of them on “grief-watch”, labeled them my “birthday bitches” and planned a day of fun, just the three of us (and Chris). I try to arrange milestones in my life, these days, to make them more conducive to fostering joy rather than grief. Oh, the grief comes during my weakest moments and I doubt that will ever change, and I don’t think I want it to. How can I ever have a guilt-free existence if I don’t experience the grief my loss has gifted me and all it has to offer? There really is good that comes out of all difficulties in life. I live by that belief.
So this year, I realize and I’m beginning to accept that my gifts from Chris are
empathy, compassion, patience, love, emotional freedom, strength and those hugs I can feel every time I close my eyes and envision him behind me, supporting me and loving me, eternally, from the other side of the veil. I know he’s there and I know he’s helping me. I can feel his support.
The truth is that every day is my birthday. Every day I wake up and try to give birth to new hope, new faith, new love and I begin each day trying to envision my life taking on the shape I always dreamed it would.
After everything that has happened and everything I have done for my husband and with my husband and after his battle and my battle alongside his and after witnessing his battle wounds and experiencing my own, the real birthday gift here is freedom. Chris' freedom from illness and my hopefully ever-increasing freedom from the trauma and the nightmare-memories of his illness and of my loss.