“Fly free and happy beyond birthdays and across forever and we’ll meet now and then and when we wish, in the midst of the one celebration that never can end.” ~ Richard Bach
It’s my birthday. “5.3, Icey!” I hear my deceased boyfriend say.
Yes, I’m 53. It’s a gift, I tell myself—trying to overcome my feelings with my mind.
I’ve already gotten 26 more of these celebrating days than my brother’s 27.
I’m three years shy of my mother’s whole life.
There was a time when their deaths made me dig in and live with fury.
I’m slower now, not old woman slow, but embodying acceptance that I’m not in control, trusting grace and allowing life to reveal itself.
You know, when I’m not comparing to those I marvel at and clinging to the sweet taste of yesterday (my beloved, aka The Fire!).
I’ve never been one to settle, but I find beauty in coming to peace with it all.
I’ve spent too many autumns of my life missing the colors while cursing the bitter winter I knew was coming.
The seasons are predictable, just not their intensity. Saying I want to be complete with my grief is wanting winter to end.
Spring will come, but there are often the surprise cold snaps after we’ve put our winter clothes away.
I’ve walked a thousand miles in grief’s shoes and I’ll walk a thousand more, because once I move into spring regarding the death of my beloved, another death of another loved one will arrive in my life—unless I go first, which I refuse.
So, I vow to live with the knowledge: people die. We know this. Yet, we resist.
Me? I’m going to live, eyes and heart open to all the seasons. I’ll grow old with grace and gratitude.
Today, I’ll sit back and laugh with my ladies. I’ll smile at babies and pet puppies. I’ll count on the sunset and let it caress my eyes. Heck, I might even dance on tables, just to prove I’ve still got my groove.
I’m still here. I breathe the breath of spring and find the delicious in everyday delights.
Life unfolds. Angels hold me, owning this space and time, infusing me with courage and refining my character.
There’s nothing to chase. I stand in this moment and allow memory to befriend me.
I smile with every drop of my flowing blood, picturing my beloved flexing in his bedroom on his final birthday: “5.8, Icey. Pretty good. What do you think—5.8?”
I thought he’d live longer. I thought he was the most handsome version of 5.8 ever created.
I love the way he saw himself and how he helped me see all of me with new eyes.
As my birthday dawns, I celebrate life’s rich hues. It’s been colorful and even when I can’t feel it, I hear him say, “It just keeps getting better.”
I lean into my belief: “5.3, Fire, what you think? Pretty good. It’s me: Icey 5.3.”