SEPTEMBER 17, 2020: “A Birthday, A Butterfly & A Kiss” …

“It’s my birthday and I’ll cry if I want to …!”

No, just kidding. But seriously. Today is my birthday … “Fifty-ONE-Derful” years old! Indeed I am “FIFTY-ONE-DERFUL”! With that, I want to share something special that happened in my cosmos in the last 24 hours, and as I’m writing this, I’ve got “Butterfly Kisses” playing in the background, and yes, I’m in tears …

It’s probably not much of a surprise to anyone that I either was, or wasn’t, depending on which moment you’d have asked, looking forward to celebrating myself this year. Although technically this is my second birthday without him, given the fact that at this time last year I was just 27 days post “YOU KNOW” and still being severely medicated to actual physical numbness, I am actually considering this to be my first true “birthday without him”.

Truth be known, as I’ve powered down the road no one ever wants to walk (“Happy Birthday – You’re now a WIDOW!”) and risen so far above these ashes, there came a certain point this year that I was determined to CELEBRATE “Fifty-ONE-Derful” in an obnoxiously spectacular way! I’d even gone so far as to ASK for someone to throw me a party, which was so unlike me that there really are no words … except to say that if you know me at all, you know that I DON’T LIKE TO CELEBRATE MY BIRTHDAY! In my mind, however, I more than deserved an obnoxious celebration, especially given the fact that my my big “five-0” last year was anything but golden! Instead of standing before The Lion Of Lucerne during the birthday trip of a lifetime he had planned and paid for one full year in advance, I spent the vast majority of that day laying in bed alone just staring at the urn on my nightstand.

But you see, if there was just one thing you should know about my husband, it was that both of our birthdays, mine and Gia’s, were all but national holidays in our home. Not a year went by in the ten years we had him “healthy” that he didn’t pour every ounce of his heart, soul and whatever resources he had at to make sure that “his girls” were celebrated emphatically for all that we meant to his existence. Keep in mind that until he had “us”, no one really celebrated him on his birthday, and that, my friends, is one of the most painful, tragic truths that still haunts me to this day. It is a common known fact to those of us that knew him best that the woman who gave birth to him didn’t even remember the day he was born. But I’ve digressed … as usual. Lol!

In light of COVID, of course, and everyone’s busy lives and schedules, “Fifty-ONE-Derful” wasn’t looking spectacular this year. No big celebration was planned, and by the time I figured that out it was much too late to throw something together for myself. Keep in mind that I am very much aware that under the circumstances, “birthdays” this year have stunk for EVERYONE, not just me! COVID-19 has crashed ALL of our parties and celebrations. Not gonna lie, I was still a little bummed out though, if not feeling downright sorry for myself. “Zack would never have let this happen”, is what I was crying to myself late yesterday afternoon while I was sulking in my room, once again staring at his urn. “Two years ago today, he whisked me away to Paris. Some birthday butterfly I am. The days of being celebrated are just gone!” Then I closed my eyes and fell asleep, praying to God that I could just zap myself back to “two years ago yesterday”, when I know for a fact that we had just gotten settled into our room in Paris, were taking a nap, and he was holding me.

That’s when it happened!


In the midst of my nap, in the darkened room, with my husband’s ashes right beside me, the angel I call daughter had quietly found her way to the side of my bed, where she adjusted my blanket and leaned over to gently kiss my forehead. As I’ve said so many times before, there are so many parts of our parts of this journey we are on that no one will ever truly understand. So many delicate conversations that we have yet to have, and maybe we never will. Things she knows. Things I know. Things we both just have to be okay “knowing” may never be spoken at all. The complications with Zack’s insanity have forced us to have to nurture some of each other’s wounds quietly. Her checking in on me yesterday in the manner that she did was the most precious “unspoken” nurturing possible.

She didn’t and still doesn’t know that I was aware of what she did, but it happened nonetheless. And just like that, my former worry that I’d “never be celebrated again” hit the floor in the best way possible … kinda like my heart did when she gifted me exactly what I needed at exactly the perfect time! Perhaps the greatest irony here is that even as I’m writing this, she too is a little disappointed that, because she’s just a kid, she “thinks” she wasn’t able to do anything special for my birthday. Gia, I’m not quite sure when you will finally begin reading all these words I’m leaving here for you and your brother, but when that day finally comes? PLEASE KNOW … THAT I KNOW … EXACTLY WHAT YOU DID YESTERDAY WHILE YOU THOUGHT I WAS ASLEEP! You DID do something “really special” for me. It was one of the most touching moments of my last “Fifty-One-Derful” years!

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