Tomorrow is my birthday. It is fair to say that I have not particularly liked my birthday since Mike died. In truth, I haven’t really liked much since he died – my birthday is no exception. I celebrated my first birthday without Mike exactly two weeks after he died. I was there in body, but not mind or spirit. The event was nearly meaningless to me. My birthdate was completely irrelevant because, at that time, his deadness consumed me. Well, this year is my fifth birthday without Mike. The good news is, that with practice, I am better at “birthdaying” without Mike. I still mildly dislike my birthday, but I don’t hate it anymore either. This is progress.
This year, I still feel a whole bunch of nothing surrounding my birthday. I feel no real joy; but, also, I do not feel a lot of sadness surrounding the day. I just feel empty. I feel empty, but not in a particularly sad way. Instead of sadness, a relentless hollowness has taken up space in my being. I have grown used to this void that lives within me so it doesn’t alarm me anymore. I will add, there are indeed happy moments that ricochet around in this hollow place inside me. I cling to those fleeting moments of goodness. These good moments create momentum and build upon themselves. Grief and happiness can and do coexist inside me.
This blog doesn’t have an easy flow like my writing usually does, but this is fitting because this is exactly how I feel. My writing is mirroring my emotions so I am cool with that. Like the words of this blog are fighting me, there is a certain resistance that is present in all aspect of my life. My life just does not flow the way it did when Mike was alive. I feel like I am walking against the current and it is physically and emotionally exhausting. Yet, here I am. I have arrived at another birthday without him. I am doing it. I am widowing.
On the eve of my fifth birthday without Mike, I feel somewhat more comfortable and content in my alternate life; but, I am still not altogether at peace. I might never again be the owner of a peace filled heart. I accept this. As human beings being content and at peace are a struggle at the best of time. And, in grief, contentment and peace are benchmarks we may never meet. I accept this. I have to.
I have learned that grief evolves. It changes with time and hard work. The changes are not always linear, but they do occur. Grief is not everlasting, if you don’t want it to be. There is a new life to be found, if you look for it. There is opportunities to find small moments of joy if you are open to it. If you aren’t, then that is a choice too. But, that choice is wrongminded for me. I have life. I didn’t die. So, to honor Mike, I will continue to try to live the best life I can. Life has been denied to him, but it is still available to me – my birthday reminds me of this.
So, I do what I can… I live for both of us now. With this outlook I accept my birthday as the gateway to another year in which I will slay my grief and live the good life I deserve – the life he and I imagined for ourselves.
Mike, I will close my eyes and make a wish for the coming year… and yes Babe, I will make it a good one,