Well, it’s that time again.  A time to reflect.  A time to ponder. A time in my life that used to mean so much more, than it does now.

It’s my birthday.  The last day of the first month.  January 31st.  Historically, my birthday, my earth day, has been a month-long celebration.  It’s a very selfish act and I love it.  My birthday is the only day I get to celebrate me- the day God gave me to be born.  You don’t have to like it or agree to this selfish gala, you do you on your special day!

Reflecting this year is different.  And has been since my husband stopped celebrating with me.  The last time he had the opportunity to spoil me and cheer me on for another year around the sun was Jan 2015.

Celebration major

He and my sister collaborated together and gave me a birthday gathering of friends and family.  They came from near and far to celebrate me.  My birth, my life, our friendship, our partnerships and the lasting relationships made over the past 23 years in this regional area.  I still remember that cold January night, like I remember most dates imprinted upon my heart and soul.  Looking back, while the evening was festive, full of marvelous food, games, music and laughter, something did seem a bit “off” with my husband.  He didn’t display his normal outgoing, jovial self that evening. In fact he was quiet.  At the time I didn’t think anything of it, other than to think he “just doesn’t feel well tonight.”

In spite of his low demeanor and quiet, as usual he treated me like a queen and the birthday gala was like none other.  Like none other.  In fact, it was my last birthday gathering with him as he died May 2015- and I haven’t had a major celebration since then.  Just four short months and he was gone.

Celebrations Minor

Since that date, my birthdays are experienced with me trying to find joy and a reason to care.  No fanfare, a few gifts from several friends, maybe a card of two.   While I still love surprises and gifts, there are fewer and fewer people to share in the celebratory day.  The even sadder part is I stopped enjoying the day as much, since it’s without my husband.  I’ve had six long, uneventful years without the joy of seeing his smile, hearing his laughs, getting his great birthday gifts and hugs.  Each birthday year seems less meaningful to me.

I know other widows that also experience holidays and other festive events that have lost the sparkle. No more glitter.  No more gold.  Nothing to really be all that happy about.

Reflecting on my birthday can bring tears of sadness and stir up feeling of grief.  But I suppose it comes with the territory of living life as a widow.  So while I’m thankful for the days I have on earth, and all my life experiences, to be without someone you love makes it so different.  Almost flat. Like a song out of tune.  Just like a celebration in minor.

Happy birthday to me.



Ajai Blue-Saunders is a servant leader and works for a nonprofit in the Richmond VA area. She is always seeking ways to encourage and serve others, even while experiencing the sudden death of her husband in 2015. Her work experience includes project development, herbalist, management, supervision and overseeing several companies and nonprofits.

Ajai has a heart for the disability community and serves on many local and national boards. She currently is solo parenting an artistic adult daughter with disabilitiies and together they are navigating this life with faith and love. She currently runs a widow's support group that meets monthly sponsored by a local funeral home which provides a safe place for widows to experience their grief journey with love and compassion.