For those who grieve, special days such as anniversaries, birthdays, or Valentine’s Day can be difficult. Other holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter can introduce a whole season of difficult days.
Well, this is Brenda’s birthday. It’s been five years since she passed and she would have been sixty-five today. This threshold, turning sixty-five, was achieved by me just two weeks earlier.
While significant dates can be, and have been difficult, the anniversary of Brenda’s birthday brought me joy. Memories of her make me smile from ear to ear and sometimes laugh out loud. Let me explain.
The Birthday Zone of Endurance
From the time we married, Brenda carried on a running gag for the two weeks I was “older” than her. If we were out somewhere and asked, “How long have you two been married?” I would answer with the number of years and Brenda would slip in, “But I am much younger than Carson.”
Yup, for two weeks she relished being younger. At a restaurant, while we were celebrating my birthday, she would not so quietly tell the server that I had “robbed the cradle.” “I am significantly younger than he is,” she would say with her alluring smile and sparkly eyes to all who would listen. Who was not to believe her?
On occasion, I would protest and retort,
“Only by two weeks! You are only younger by two weeks!”
To this Brenda would roll her eyes communicating to the individual without words “Yeah right, LOL like I am only two weeks younger that this old guy.”
Once during the “birthday zone of endurance,” we were snuggling on the couch watching television. Brenda had her head resting on my shoulders and against my neck. I was stroking her hair and, trying to be romantic.
”Where have you been all my life?” I whispered.
Without lifting her head she responded, “Well for a large portion of it I wasn’t even born.” This was followed by chuckling, that she could not stop. <Big Smile>
She had many more typical jabs I’d be expecting. For example:
- At the dinner table, “Honey, let me help you cut your meat.”
- “Carson, here” as she reached for me. “Take my arm. I will help you with the stairs.”
- “Dear, can I read that for you?” or,
- “I am going to call Glen to see if I can borrow his truck to go pick up your birthday candles.
- On and on it would go.
When our boys were young, she would smile at me and kindly tell me, “If we are ever out somewhere, and you are mistaken for our boy’s grandfather, don’t worry, I will correct them.” As she walked away, I swear I could see her smile through the back of her head.
So you get the picture. I had to endure these two weeks every single year, as she loved this annual season of teasing me.
Brenda seemed to gather energy and slow down time all at the same time during these weeks. She would be in a state of absolute joy. She even spent extra time on her makeup and how she dressed. She just loved playing the “much younger woman.”
Turning Sixty Five
This year, oh she had plans for this year. Suddenly in my waking on August fifth, I would be sixty-five, and for two weeks she would be married to a senior citizen. She desperately, passionately, unswervingly wanted to reach this milestone for me and had been contriving some great plans for years.
..But she never got to carry them out.
Her best friend Alison and I walked to the cemetery today to celebrate her birthday in heaven. When we arrived, I was filled with these memories of her and so grateful for the years we shared.
Time and good memories do help the grief journey but I have the grace to realize we all have our own pace. Allow yourself the time needed.