Happy Birthday to you,
We know you’re not blue,
We celebrate your birth day,
But we still grieve for you too.
2012 doesn’t seem that long ago, and then other times, it seems much too long. March 12th, there was that call, the one no parent should get. Standing next to my husband seemed surreal as I could tell he was getting unfathomable news on the line. His son was deceased.
The law and order of life seems to be you die first and then your children go. We both have talked a lot since Dan’s death about all the things each of us would have said to Dan. It’s funny because the one thing that would have not passed our lips is good-bye.
We strongly believe in Heaven, in a spiritual life after death. And saying good-bye has a finality to it that is just hard to do with your own children. It would have been far easier to have let him know, at least one more time, our feelings for him, individually. Naturally as a step-parent who came into the picture much later, mine were quite different than my husband’s. But the chance is gone. Just like his life, the merry-go-round of life stopped turning. We had no notice, no inkling he would no longer be here.
I suppose everyone that knows someone and loves them deeply wishes they knew ahead of time they were going to die. Then you could have that final closure in advance. Without it, the hell of recovering is trying. Letting go and moving on we have done but some days, like tomorrow, Dan’s birthday, are exceptionally difficult ones.
Since starting a Memorial Fund in his name, writing the check each birthday gives both of us, in particular Jim, a feeling we are gifting other young men life, Dan’s life from heaven. We both feel certain he is smiling and proud. He knows our love for him is being passed on to others. It helps but it is also a knot in our stomachs because we can’t do anything anymore for him, for his children who lost a father.
Birthdays are celebrations of life. They are reminders of the life you are living and remembering to cherish the life you are given and not to take it for granted. Your birthday and those you love may not be here next year. We found that out the hard way. Take time to tell those you care about how you feel. Assuming may lead to singing Happy Birthday to the sky…..