Happy Birthday sounds totally ridiculous to me. I don’t know what words don’t sound totally ridiculous for me to utter today though.
I ordered some balloons this morning. The kids wanted to send some to heaven and I wanted something to leave at your headstone. I asked for a masculine happy birthday something or other. When I picked it up it said, “HAVE AN AMAZING BIRTHDAY”. When the sweet balloon lady asked if it was ok, I didn’t have it in me to tell her no. I mean, honestly, how many happy birthday balloons for the deceased does she do in a year? And I didn’t disclose that information when I ordered. So, I held back tears and said, “Yes, thank you.”
What I want to say is NO! No, I’m not doing this. This is not an amazing day. No, I want you here. Here in the the flesh, telling me you want nasty Chinese food and endless shrimp for your birthday dinner. I want to have to beg you to give me a dessert idea when all you say is, “I don’t like cake. I don’t care. Make something the kids will like.” I want a birthday list that makes me smile because it’s just so adult-ish. I want to listen to you tell me about your next tattoo and how work is and all the things that we should be talking about on your 19th birthday. I just want you here. And your not.
I had no idea grief could throw a person so violently in reverse after what seemed to be weeks of healing and hope. I had no idea I could be thrown back into what seems like the depths of the deep, dark hell of those first few hours after my fears were confirmed six months ago. I had no idea that I could go back to this place. But now I know. Now, I know.
I’ve tried to redirect to the good, the happy, the whole, the living. As I think of you, on the day of your birth, I think of all the years we have celebrated you. All the ages and stages. I’m grateful for them all. The tiny, the cute, the little, the adolescent, the preteen, the teens, the emerging adult. All the years. All the things that I loved about you and all the things that drove me mad. The happy, the sad, the fun, the good, the downright ridiculous kind of hard. Through it all, I loved you so much. So much. I probably say it more now, but it’s not that it’s any different. I’m just desperately wishing you were here and I could look you in the eye when I say it.
So, happy 19th birthday Teagan boy. I love you. I love you always and forever, no matter what.