My late husband’s birthday was just the other day. It was the 4th such occasion since he passed.
I will honestly say that it has gotten a little easier each time, but it still can be a difficult day.
What I found to be even more difficult though, at least at first, was my birthday.
Birthdays and celebrations could oftentimes be difficult for him as he perceived them to be a source of unnecessary stress and pressure. That said, he would try very hard to make sure that if there was something special we all wanted to do for the day, it was done.
It was a tradition that dinner for our daughter’s and my birthdays were usually Italian. He would sometimes search out little, mom and pop type places that boasted authentic regional cuisines. Other times, it was Macaroni Grill or Olive Garden.
It didn’t really matter, because what mattered was the effort that he had put into making the day special.
For his own birthday, he was a little more subdued, preferring a laid back sushi dinner or for me to make something healthy. (I once had a food blog where I showcased healthy, plant based recipes, and he rather enjoyed my cooking.)
Long story short, his first birthday after his death, definitely gave me pause. I had prepared for it though. My daughter and I bought some single serve slices of various cakes, and planned a nice weekend.
I was pretty proud of us and felt good about how we handled it. My own birthday was next, and that hit much harder.
There was no Italian dinner off the beaten path. No concert tickets (also a typical gift), no lengthy social media post waiting for me when I awoke.
I felt the full weight of everything I was missing…which seems weird, because how could the absence of something be so heavy?
It was definitely the hardest of all the dates, save for our wedding anniversary which was understandably quite difficult as well. All the other birthdays and holidays were easier because of having other family and friends around. Even Bret’s birthday wasn’t quite as hard as I thought it would; my dad shares the date with him, and this helped to keep our minds occupied.
The only other date that knocks the wind out of my sails more, is his death date, sometimes referred to as an “angelversary“.
His birthday while still emotional, has gotten easier over time. So has mine.
So have all the dates.
I’m sure I’ll never be fully okay with February 11, his “angelversary.” That day will haunt his nearest and dearest forever. No amount of cake will make that cold and dreary day any better.
But in all truthfulness, it is just another day in this life that we’ve been blessed with.
To quote a lyric from (rock band) System of a Down’s Lonely Day, “it’s a day that I’m glad I survived.”