I went shopping yesterday. I wish it could have been for his birthday this coming Sunday. Instead, it was for springtime decorations for his grave. I must have looked like someone had died to all the other shoppers, because I was fighting angry tears the entire time I was in Hobby Lobby.
Someone did die. And a piece of me died along with him.
I wish it wasn’t this way, but it is.
He would have been 29 on Sunday.
Maybe he would be married by now.
Maybe we would have another grandchild here or on the way.
Maybe he just would have ridden his motorcycle for 3.5 more years than he had; attended more college classes; gotten his pilot’s license; a new car, perhaps.
I wonder if he would have asked for his “special” chocolate cake for his birthday. Maybe lasagna for our family dinner to celebrate him. Or chicken flautas.
He’d crack his half-smile and give me a short grunt of a laugh at the corny card I’d give him.
He’d thank his dad and I for the birthday money we’d give him in his card.
Maybe the weather would be nice enough for us all to go outside and play; or maybe it would be a cold, windy day, like on his first birthday after he left us. I will never forget the 6 of us standing around his grave, freezing, crying, questioning, praying, supporting each other and wishing with all our hearts we weren’t standing around a grave to “celebrate” one of our birthdays.
I’m going to bake a cake for his birthday on Sunday. Maybe my grandma’s Red Velvet cake. All my other kids, grandkids, and kids-in-law will be here to eat it with us. Then we’ll go to the cemetery and have a balloon release; it is a beautifully gut-wrenching way to celebrate him and where he is now.
I love you, son.
I miss you more than words can say.
I will see you again, soon.
Here he is, with his niece on his lap, blowing out candles on his birthday cake when he was home on leave from Japan for his 21st birthday: