So, it’s my birthday this week. The level of emotions and anxiety leading up to my next trip around the sun have been overwhelming. Tony had always been the one to make a big deal out of my birthday, and often times I was embarrassed and even aggravated by it.
This year, my first without him in 23 years, it is hard to even know how to feel or celebrate. This day…as I have known for the last 49 weeks, would be the last of the lasts with the anniversary of his death coming up in March. If I could have it my way, I would just press the fast forward button and skip over it…I’d probably skip all the way over the next few weeks and cruise right into April. But I have learned all too well that it doesn’t work that way. The only way to handle it is to push through it, as uncomfortable as it feels.
So, here I am. Pushing through. Owning my feelings and floating them out here…
The last year of my life has, without doubt, been the most painful I have ever experienced. In many ways, I feel like this one year has aged me more than the last ten before it. I’ve grown in ways I never imagined or wanted to. While I do miss and mourn who I used to be, every day I get a little more comfortable in who I am becoming.
While some may think it will be easy to say good riddance to the last year, it is quite the opposite.
And looking ahead, I can’t come to terms with this birthday. Not because of the number that comes with it. I’ve always welcomed being another year older and up until a few years ago, life just seemed to get better and better with each year. Even after Tony’s diagnosis, while scared for the future, I appreciated the laser vision we had on our life and love together. But now, because I have the privilege of being an age that he never reached, it carries a whole new significance. It feels like I am leaving him behind.
I don’t know how I’ll feel when the actual day comes this week. I know I want to handle it with grace and gratitude, but I can’t guarantee I will. I guess it’s just hard to make the day about me without it also being about him.
As for my wishes for the year ahead when I blow out my candles? I have lots of them, big and small. But I can’t share because then they might not come true.