Moms Columns & Blogs

John's Birthday

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I know for a fact he could go the rest of his life without celebrating his birthday…  My husband was never one for ‘much ado’ to be made over him. A home cooked meal, a lopsided chocolate layer cake with a card and an uninterrupted evening of sports television would satisfy him far more than any gift I could ever buy.

At least that was how it used to be.  For the last two years, his preference has been to pass the day without anything at all…without fanfare, without acknowledgement.  John would rather forget it entirely.  To him, June 13 is no longer about his birthday.  Instead, it will forever be the day we planned Brian’s funeral…

Last Friday, the sight of gifts from our daughters forced him to flee…he literally bolted from the room…  The girls tried to change things up by giving them early, two days prior; even so, his reaction was immediate and visceral…

I have no idea how to navigate this emotional quagmire…  I completely understand John’s feelings, but I also recognize the importance of this day for the rest of our family.  It’s infinitely complicated…  We want to shower John with love…but he doesn’t feel worthy of it because of what happened.  Intellectually he knows better; Brian wouldn’t want this, and yet he cannot settle his heart…  I imagine it will always be this way…

For my part, I tried to honor his wishes even as I encouraged him to allow others to cherish him in some small way for his birthday.  I gently reminded him that this was for all of us.  Sometimes we have to make the conscious effort to carry on, even when all we want to do is disappear for the duration.  No matter how painful, some occasions require us to dig deep, to ‘man up’, because our family needs the security and comfort found in those moments…this being one of them.

Over the course of Friday evening and Sunday throughout the day, we managed to bestow a few trinkets upon John, mostly odds and ends of fishing tackle and gear for his newfound angling hobby.  My mom snuck in a chocolate cake with whipped icing from the grocery store, a gesture I wasn’t allowed to make (entirely her idea).  My sister grilled turkey burgers with sides of potato salad and stove-top beans, prepared by candlelight and flashlight (not anyone’s idea).  But that’s another story…

I'm just grateful this weekend didn't include Father's day as well...   

Thank you so much for your kind thoughts, words and prayers during this challenging time; it has been a great comfort to us as we navigated the many ‘events’ leading up to the second anniversary.  I appreciate it more than you could ever imagine…

Wishing you many blessings, sunshine and hope…tg

Tammy will update her blog on Mondays and Thursdays.  -- Jen, site administrator  

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