47

It’s John’s birthday today.
47. He will never turn this, will he? I have to say that he WOULD have been 47. He will forever be 46.
When we buried him, I stood staring at his casket, thinking of this day and dreading it. Birthdays are to be celebrated. A year older. Cake. Singing. Laughter. May 21 from now on won’t be this anymore. It will be a reflection of his life and a wish not with candles but of wanting him back.
Izzy was upset when she realized he wouldn’t turn 47 when she is 7. “I loved to play that math game. Dada will be 47 when I am 7. Turn 48 when I am 8 and on and on and on and on. I can’t do that anymore.”
What would we do if John didn’t have cancer? If he were alive and healthy? I have been thinking about this these past few days. We would just continue life as usual. How wonderful would that be?
Then I think-what kind of life would he have had after the surgery? Life of nurses, hospitals, doctors, medication and pain. Life with cancer that would have taken him anyway…but the girls would have still had their father. We would be a full family on a different path than most but he would have been alive and with us. Celebrating. Appreciating what life really means. Giving love and taking it with so much more gratitude and understanding. He probably wouldn’t be able to eat cake but we would have baked him one anyway. We would sing and watch him make a wish as he blew out the candles. I would have been able to see him smile and see the hope of that wish in his eyes.

Instead, I let Izzy stay at home. We had a lazy morning and they wanted to hear their birth stories and how they were in my tummy. Oddly, I woke up better than the past week. I have been a wreck because it marks another celebration without him. So much anxiety and tears.

On our way out to Korean food (girls pick and one of John’s favorite foods), I put my shoes on while the girls got into the car. I closed my eyes and whispered to John “We are going to celebrate you. Come with us. Be with us.” and not even 5 minutes passed in the car when the song Big Yellow Taxi came on. I was smiling and weeping the whole song, thanking him for that.

The girls found one penny each at different times and places. Izzy said “Well, I don’t believe in Heaven but they must be pennies from Dada.” I hope it brought them a sense of joy. Maybe they think John played a prank on them the way they have been pranking me lately.

Having to celebrate a birthday at a cemetery is pretty depressing and even more so when your children are walking around, reading the other headstones. It’s just unbelievable. When they sat down and they were ready to sing, I couldn’t even get the first word out. We should be seated at a table, singing to him. Izzy and KitKat talked about what they would want on our headstone-the 4 of us. “We will be together no matter what” was what Izzy wanted. KitKat said “Dada we love you” is what she wanted and I agreed those were good to put on a headstone. We see that the plots next to him are taken and I have to keep reminding myself that it’s for the best, but really, it makes it hard to realize that we won’t all be together after we die.

Last month, on the six month mark (April 29), I went to his grave. I sat a bit, looked around and was shocked at the scenery. Six months before that, in October, the gumdrop trees were a brilliant orange and the leaves were getting ready to drop to the ground. The leaves in April were a baby green, clinging closely to the branches and ready to spread out. Now the gumdrop trees are at it’s peak with so much green around them. Seasons are changing. Life is going on.  I am living in October 2014 and the days, months and years before that. Time ticks forward but I am standing still. It’s all I know right now.

Happy birthday John. We love you so so much.
Happy birthday John. We love you so so much.
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