A Special Birthday

It rained last year on this day
I was so mad
I tried to dress up for you
and by the time I got there
I was a bedraggled mess
we celebrated your birthday
for forty-five minutes on the train
and during the fifteen minute walk to the hospital
(I always hated leaving you there)
making the most of every short moment
(each moment thereafter became shorter still, as time went on)
I remember running, alone,
back to the station
–and missing my train
and not feeling bad about the two-hour wait
because I was still closer to you there
than I would have been at home.
A month later, we celebrated my birthday
on that same train, for the same forty-five minutes
(I remember telling you that it was only fair
since that was how we spent your birthday)
Only this time we had to take another train to the hospital
–walking was not an option
time and disease progress at their own pace
whether we want them to or not
leaving you there then was the hardest
that last hug, that last goodbye
not knowing even then
that they WERE the last hug, the last goodbye
the last smile.
It rained that day, too.
************************
I haven’t yet checked the weather, or looked outside to see what’s going on.  Whether or not it’s raining again on your birthday this year, one year later, is of no importance.  Everything about this day could be the same as last year and it would still be different.  You are not here.  I still struggle with moments of disbelief, that you could be very much here one moment and gone the next; very much a part of my daily life one minute and only a memory (a term I resent) the next.
I learned a lot from you.  I can imagine the look on your face if I was ever able to tell you that directly: there’d be a flash of smug pride before you casually looked down at your nails oh-so-offhandedly… then you’d look back up at me and seeing how earnest I was, you’d bite your lower lip and then just smile at me in sheer pleasure.  You had the happiest smile.
You made a difference in my life. You made a difference in me.  I already wrote in another post here how much you’ve done for me (and you said you’d read everything I write, and I don’t expect that to have changed, even now!).  And still, the more time that passes I realize you taught or showed me even more. You’ve helped me to be able to see more, to understand more about my relationships with others, and to realize the varying levels of connection I have with those around me. Every connection, every interaction of any kind with any person means something. I understand that so much more now. I can appreciate it more now. I am even able to recognize the deeper connections, the stronger ties of consciousness that I may have otherwise overlooked in ignorance, causing me to miss out on what is looking to be even more wonderful life-changing experiences, deeper passions and love.
I am getting excited to learn more of the legacy you left behind for me, the gifts of insight and thought that I am becoming aware of more and more. It is in this that I find more reasons to celebrate the day of your birth than to solely mourn your passing.
Happy Birthday, Don.

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