The first birthday after the passing of your child. Exactly a month after. How do you handle it? Well, if you’re my wife, like a champ.
When we wake up I gave her a kiss on the cheek from Shayna. I know, not the same, but Shayna doesn’t have lips here anymore so I have to do it for her. I ask what she wants to do for her birthday. To my pleasant surprise, she doesn’t insist we ignore it, but she doesn’t suggest anything specific. I suggest a nice lunch out.
We go about our days. At lunch time I take her to Mitchell’s Fish Market, pretty fancy for us. We treat ourselves to a couple of their outrageously priced but delicious cocktails and, as usual, talk about the past month and how we are going to go forward. There is no one I would rather take this difficult journey with. This morning I listened to a podcast and the family in this case had lost a 19 year old daughter. The wife processed one way, being very introspective, talking about it, even seeing a medium. The husband processed it by pouring himself into his work and not talking about it. Fortunately, five years later they are still married, but I don’t know that our marriage could handle that. Ty and I are, so far at least, on exactly the same page. We are growing closer.
We finish up lunch and set out to run some errands. We remark how strange it is that the world is exactly the same as before Shayna passed, yet completely different. The world keeps on spinning and operating. But for us it has stopped. This is not the place we were living before. Ty has to stop in a place where we do business. They know about Shayna. It’s her first time there since Shayna crossed over. She comes out weepy. I was weepy anyway because while she was in there something on Facebook triggered me. We drive to Kroger through my tears. No words need be said. We both know what is going on.
The podcast I listened to this morning is so good I want to share it with her. We plan to meet after work to listen. We are lying on the bed listening together when Kayla comes home. It’s so good to see her bright shining face. She gives Ty birthday presents that light up her face. Nice to see them smiling.
Friends have invited us to the club for dinner and drinks. We go and laugh and talk and have drinks like normal people. They talk about their kids and college plans and the final high school years. We smile and nod all the while keeping Shayna in our minds and knowing we will not experience those joys we had so looked forward to. I am happy for my friends. Happy that they don’t have to go through what we are going through. I wish them peace and health.
We come home and I spend some time on the deck, just the stars, the moon and Shayna with me. I can feel her presence. I am actually kind of at peace. I’m not sure why.
I come in and Ty is doing laundry. I tell her how proud I am of her. We have been together coming up on three decades. We have been married 25 years. We have certainly had our share of ups and downs, but I am more convinced than ever we are soul mates and we were fated to make this journey together. I mean a month after losing one of our two most precious things on this planet, she is going out celebrating her birthday, doing laundry and we are doing what we need to do to complete our mission and to honor Shayna. I don’t know if she could do this without me, but I couldn’t do it without her.