Today is Maggie’s 36th birthday. It’s stunning to me how much I still miss her every day. I’m fairly certain that my saying so has become repetitive, even predictable so I tend to keep it to myself. I would have thought 31 months would have cleaned out the pain. Instead, I’ve learned how to carry it better so that it’s not crippling or defining (or sometimes even noticeable to those who know me.)
In our other life together, today we’d be frantically preparing for a huge party here at the house Saturday night to celebrate her birthday. A whole ton of friends would descend on this well-prepped house for hours of festivities. And then, after all the guests had left for the evening, she and me and two tired puppies would crawl into bed, all smiles. Instead, tonight I’ll attend a different party thrown by some friends, one that in some ways was born from the end of our party. Some of the same friends will be there that would have been at our party. Many attendees will be people I’ve never met. It will be a wonderful party. It will also be the most difficult party I’ll attend this year, by far. There will be one face I always searched for missing. And two hands I used to hold not there. And a voice I won’t hear talk in excited tones about how life is great. And that one, singular beautiful smile I won’t see. It’s hard to fathom how a person can be so sad in the middle of a huge crowd of happy people.
But I’ll put on my party face and pretend. Hopefully this year I’ll only have to excuse myself only once or twice (unlike last year.) If someone sees me in those moments, hopefully they’ll understand why I’m still sad and, even if they are tired of my grief, pretend just for a minute they aren’t. I assure you, I’m tired of it, too.
“Don’t be sad because it’s over. Be happy because it happened.” I keep reminding myself that over and over and over. Such difficult-to-live words that will feel very empty tonight as I stand alone without my angel in the middle of a huge, happy crowd.
Happy Birthday, My Love. I love you no less today than I did yesterday and no more than I will tomorrow. And I miss you every single day.