Another year – a new set of memories of you is what I should be writing about, but instead I write of memories from the past. You left us with beautiful memories, ones full of grace, tenderness, love and laughter, but they are becoming older with each passing day. It’s hard to not be bitter on a day like today, a day filled with raw emotion that has me praying to keep the flood gates of tears closed. I promised myself that I would not be full of bitterness today, that I would smile and laugh while reminiscing of the days I was blessed to spend with you. While you were given 51 beautiful birthdays, I can’t help but wonder what it would have been like to have had these past two birthdays with you, to wonder what you would have been like at age 52 or 53 and beyond. Would you still claim to be “on to me like white on rice?” Would your bald spot have increased in radius? Would your laugh sound the same, or would it have aged with accumulation of knowledge and wisdom? Unfortunately, these are questions I will never know the answer to, but I can always look to grandma to see what the potential outcome was. I can’t help but feel jaded that you are not here to answer them, but I could not be more blessed to share another beautiful celebration with grandma.
While it would be easy to write a list of 53 things I wish I could experience with you, I’m not going to. I could write 53 ways in which your death has altered my view point on life, but I’m not going to. Instead, I am going to limit myself to one thing that I think is direly important to remember. We need to start living life like every day is our birthday. Every single morning we are blessed enough to wake up, we should celebrate. Some days it will be hard to keep a positive mindset, but in the long run, there is no reason to wake up and create a crappy day because you have a negative attitude. The days we receive are limited. So when you wake up in the morning, wake up like it’s your birthday, a day to celebrate, a day to remember. The moment we start waking up like this, the moment we start acting like life is a blessing, then it will finally start to feel like one. There are days where I would exchange my life for my father’s, but in the end, this is the card I was dealt and when I realize that being alive and healthy is all anyone could ask for, then I will realize the true beauty of leaving a living legacy behind after I take my last breath.
I’m not entirely sure where I stand on what happens to one after they pass, but, today, I do know that I hope you and grandpa are somewhere, enjoying a rum and diet coke and gin & tonic, respectively, in honor of the shared birthday with your mom and his wife. No matter where you are, I want you to have the most beautiful of days, dear father. I have failed to resign to your death thus far and continue to wish it was just a dream, but for today, I will walk with the knowledge that you are by my side, taking in the celebration of life that we have commenced. I know you’re watching from above, and I’m sending love and warm birthday blessings to my angel upstairs.
To end, I would like to send my daddy a few birthday wishes:
- I hope you are resting peacefully somewhere, with unlimited access to your favorite foods and drinks.
- I hope you have reconnected with the friends and family who passed before or after you.
- I hope that you are proud of us.
- I hope that you celebrate your birthday along with us.
- But most importantly, I hope that one day, we can all meet again.
Happy 53rd Birthday, Dad – have a rum and coke for me.
I love you with all of my heart.