My birthday is next week which is the 2nd hurtle in the line of 4 that I have to deal with in the next month. The first was Father’s Day which I somehow managed to sleep through. I’m still not quite sure if this lack of consciousness was due to a virus or my inability to deal with the day.
Something that only you Deep Grievers will understand.
All I know was I had no business being behind the wheel of my daughter’s foot-pushing toddler car...much less the powerful engine of my minivan.
This year will mark 4 years. FOUR YEARS. Four years of my sad little cluster of dates. Father’s Day. My birthday. His “death-a-versary” and my wedding anniversary. I’m seasoned. I’m a professional griever. I’m halfway through my medical degree in grieving.
And I spent my few hours awake wondering why in the hell it was still so hard.
I came to a conclusion that I thank my “thinking sweats” for ( you know...those clothes that you’ll wear for days and think no one actually recognized you in. Like you were incognito while you were in your “break down wear.”) (Side note: They noticed you but were too embarrassed to claim you.)
So here it is.
It’s not the milestone. It’s the revelation.
Think about it. With every birthday, holiday, or Monday...you’ve passed something. Yes, I realize that it sounds like a kidney stone. But the truth is...it’s much more painful. And more enduring. And can’t be broken up by lasers.
Last year, around my birthday, I had a similar breakdown. I realized that I was about to turn the same age that my husband was when he died. And that made me sad. UNBELIEVABLY sad. So sad that my insides turned out. So sad that my life, which I thought had already been turned upside down...turned upside down again (which I realize should make it right side up...but it didn’t).
Deep down, in my core...just...sad.
And then it passed. Life went on and I was so relieved to just be over that milestone. I thought for sure that I would never feel that bad about my birthday again.
Until this year.
A couple of weeks ago, I felt the milestone coming again. I’m going to tell you what it looks like. It looks like the clouds are building...but you think the storm is going to pass you by. Then they turn green and threatening and you wonder if it’s possible to take shelter.
And then it’s there on top of you...like a swirling vortex of life you can’t dodge. And all of the contents of your life are circling.
And you wonder if they’re going to land intact or in pieces.
My milestone is coming. It’s circling.
My sister asked me today, what I wanted to do for my birthday next week. And I told her, “I don’t care. I just want it to be over.”
She said, “That makes me so sad. You’ve always loved your birthday!”
And I said, “No haven’t. Not since he died.”
I’ve always been the youngest of my group of friends. I have always been a few years younger, or a few months younger...something that everyone has joked about. I’m the baby of the group. I was the last one to get a license. I was the last one who could get into a bar. That was my job. That was my place.
This year...for the first time I realized...I’m not the youngest of our group anymore.
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© Catherine Tidd 2011