This month I turn 33. An age my husband never got to be. He crossed over the month before his 33rd birthday. I don’t want to turn 33. I don’t even want to be 32. What I actually want is to be 31 forever, because when I was 31 my husband still had a body. All 33 does is remind me that I quite possibly (and even likely) have several decades left before I am reunited with him in the same form, on the same side of the veil again.
My husband and I have never really been ones to make big deals out of birthdays and holidays. We aren’t big celebration people nor were we typically gift people, however we’ve always had our little traditions for just us. Takeout and horror movies at Halloween, days on end charcuterie with rum and eggnog and movies at Christmas, a trip to the mountains for our anniversary. All of these things, and more, just us. For his birthday in the spring we would usually take a day trip to our favourite hot spring resort followed by a fabulous dinner at their renowned restaurant, and for my heat-of-the-summer birthday we would typically hit our favourite river or lake for the afternoon and have a few drinks then go out for dinner (food is a love language for us if you can’t tell). I keep our traditions alive on my own, knowing that he’s there with me anyways, even if its different now. Although covid has made some of our traditions more challenging for the time being. But I do modified versions for now and will reincorporate them in full when I can. However I am really struggling with whether or not to even bother ‘celebrating’ my 33rd birthday. It feels unfair, and heartbreaking, and incomplete without him here physically. I know that ultimately he wants me to. I can hear himtelling me to do it, that he still turned 33 (and then 34) when I celebrated his birthday for him, and that he is here celebrating my 33 with me. That nothing has changed, except everything, but ultimately nothing has changed between us. So just do it.
Why is it that not only does grief follow you around like a shadow every single day, but we also get these massive wallops that almost drown you? Like turning 33. I am drowning in this wave of heartache cascading over me, pushing me deeper into the ocean of grief I’m already struggling to swim in. Whispers and memories swirling around me trying to pull me out of the never-ending swells, often unsuccessfully. The connection to and communication with my husbands spirit is the only life raft that seems to save me from being pulled under and swept away most days. Some days are worse than others, and this year my birthday is one of those worse days. Because I don’t want to be 33. Or even 32. I just want to be 31 forever, please.