Tomorrow's my birthday. And in lieu of the party and the gifts my two requests were:
1. Can we please go away, anywhere but here? and,
2. Can you please shave so I can see your beautiful face?
(My always-bearded husband was on the reciprocating end of my wishes) Those might sound like a strange birthday wishes to most, but, when your brother dies on your birthday, shit gets real. Even more so when it's a tragic, opioid-epidemic kind-of story ending. Sparkly things mean a lot less and time spent with the people you love most means a whole lot more.
Birthday's are typically a time to celebrate. Everyone gathers together to sing and reminisce about the best years, dreaming and memory making for the years still to come...at least that's how my first 25 went.
26. Twenty-six was the worst (birth)day of my life. Since then, birthdays have never, and will never, be the same. Because who wants to hear a chorus of "and many moreeeee" on the special day you share with your brother who doesn't have any more years, days or even moments to share? Not me.
So, we don't celebrate anymore. Not really anyway. We tried, it sucked. So now we try less. Because it's too morbid to throw confetti and eat cake when every year older just means another year without him. How can you celebrate life on the anniversary of your brother's death? Maybe that's the very reason to celebrate life, but I just can't seem to wrap my head around it. Maybe next year. But, maybe not.
No birthday - or any day really - is the same when everyone else is counting blessings and all I can see is the absence - empty space - where one of my biggest blessings used to be.
There's a nagging voice inside my head - probably my mother's - that reminds me that I should count my blessings and be thankful for what I do have...
I'm tired of pretending everything's okay. I'm tired of "good vibes only". I'm tired of moving on because the rest of the world has. And I'm tired of celebrating a day that should be sad. And I'm tired of everyone being "fine" when that's the last thing I'll ever be.
So this year, as a gift to myself (and everyone else, really) I'm choosing to just feel. Feel sad. Feel heartbroken. Feel empty. Feel left behind. Feel resentful. Feel angry. And any other emotion that may surface as a part of my grief journey.
So here's to another year -
Darker, without you.
Empty, without you.
Older, without you.
I miss you, Kev.
PS. If you're struggling with the loss of a loved one, or grieving in some other way, therapy helps.