My life is currently a walking contradiction. I love going to sleep because that’s when it’s when I can rest from the pain. Yet I hate waking up because it means I’m another day further from you.
However, the cool breeze that whipped around my cheeks when I walked Lola this morning signaled the seasons were changing. I’m ready. Kind of. This summer has been horrible.
And a few days ago, my birthday snuck up on me.
I knew it was coming. Obvi.
I normally plan the year around my big day. But this one… I wanted to run and hide from this one. He always made them so special for me. Whether he planned sweet getaways when I was stressed out over life or spent all the money he had to make a quick trip to visit me when we first started dating, we always spent them together. The big gifts were nice. Heck, on my 30th he asked me to marry him with the most beautiful ring and with the most elaborate proposal I’ve ever heard of, which was followed by a surprise birthday party. But to be honest, the quiet ones with the thoughtful, heartfelt moments warmed my heart the most.
It’s easy to reflect on your birthday.
Last year, my feed reminded me he surprised me with a beautiful dinner at one of our Darden favorites, Eddie V’s, with good friends and yummy food.
A few days later, he surprised me again with tickets to the Janet Jackson concert– even arranging for me to go with a good friend. He knew we’d have fun together, but it would be nice for me to sing, jump & dance with someone who would do that, too, because he certainly wouldn’t… And that’s okay. LOL.
I still remember the moment. I walked into the room and saw that large envelope and birthday card. Inside, two tickets and a beautiful memory that will have to last me the rest of my life.
We never went to a lot of concerts. Honestly, my feet always ended up hurting and the crowds gave me a headache. I ran into my share of them on the job. But I secretly wanted to go to this one.
He knew. He always said he knew me better than I knew myself, and I’m finding out now that he did. I often find myself taking an extra second answering simple questions these days. Obviously my mind and heart are in totally different places than they once were, but it’s also difficult to try to figure out my dreams now. I’m no longer who I once was, but I’m not sure who I want or will become either. How do you plan a future when it takes all of your might to try to get up and find the strength and energy to make it through the day and appear halfway normal?
So to put it simply, this birthday was difficult. It hit me as soon as I woke up. I fell into a black hole and am now just emerging from it. It sucked all of me into it, and took all of my strength to hold on to his love and find a way to pull myself out of it.
It was here. The moment I usually cherished and anticipated for months.
It was here, but he wasn’t.
Don’t get me wrong. The outpouring of love was amazing. It helped. But in some ways, there was nothing anyone anywhere could do to lessen the pain.
The wish of many more birthdays only made my heart hurt. That would mean more time living without him. Even the words slightly stung.
It literally took me unto this moment, four days later, to actually realize I’m now a totally different age.
But that day I escaped to a quiet, peaceful getaway for a few hours. Only to lose all of my marbles as soon as I walked out of the spa door. I found myself straight up bawling by the time my car reached the first stoplight.
And then I heard it. Michael Jackson’s “You are not alone” softly started to play. I hadn’t heard the song in years. The words hit my ear and my heart equally hard, softening the pangs of grief — if only for a moment
“Another day has gone
I’m still all alone
How could this be
You’re not here with me
You never said goodbye”
Yes. So true.
“But you are not alone
For I am here with you
Though we’re far apart
You’re always in my heart”
And then the most beautiful little butterfly flew past my window. Right there, in the middle of a busy intersection near our nation’s capital, the world stopped and my heart began to beat.
So yes, the seasons have changed. You are no longer with me physically. My heart is beginning to accept it. As much as I hate it, it’s happening.
It still hurts. I still pray for divine intervention; just one more hug and kiss. What I wouldn’t do to hold your hand one more time. But I’m learning that while we’re worlds apart, I am not alone.
It’s not what I what. I still don’t understand it. But you are still here with me. Here’s to hoping we’ll figure out a way to get through these other milestones, as well.