Tuesday, September 29, 2015

My dad's birthday is tomorrow.

My dad's birthday is tomorrow.

I wasn't going to write about it, just let it pass by as another day on the blog and mourn inside the building that has his name on it's side. I was going to stick to the schedule that blogging has -one that sticks to Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I wasn't going to cry. I wasn't going to remember him in health. I wasn't going to let his day be marred by sadness.

But his birthday is tomorrow and my feelings are large, heavy, cumbersome, deeply sad.

I wasn't going to tell you about how he's alive, but so close to death. I wasn't going to say that it kills me the way he's not dead and yet he's so gone. I wasn't going to admit my faith is small and tired, but my hope is strong and sure. I wanted to paste a smile on my face while I wore a Reese's peanut butter cup shirt like his favorite one and be done with it. I wasn't going to let his day be anything but good.

But his birthday is tomorrow and I'm terribly heart-broken over that fact.

I wasn't going to share about this gray zone where you're celebrating his birth while hoping for his death. I wasn't going to say that I hope it's easier when he's in heaven. I wasn't going to say that I beg God to take Him from us because I've told myself it'll bring peace. I wasn't going to give a voice to the way I lie in bed at night and wonder if it'll be sad and hard always. I want to think death brings peace, but peace doesn't exclude the searing way it is to miss someone, does it?

His birthday is tomorrow.

And as he dies, I realize it's moments such as these that brings us to life. As he's disappeared from our lives over the last seven years, I cling to the photos I love, the cards with his square writing inside, the lessons buried deep in the safest spots of my soul. He dies and, in that, I learn how to be alive.

So tomorrow is his birthday, his sixty-third, and I mourn.

I mourn the bright, bold man he was. I mourn the dry, stern dad who raised me into the woman I am. I mourn the tattoos we share, the afternoon we spent together in a dark shop, the ice cream we ate while the needles colored in between the black lines. I mourn the ways I reflect him -our dimpled chins, our short legs, our thick hair. I mourn him because mourning means I am alive. Profoundly, wholly alive.

Tomorrow, eat the cake, have the whole milk in your latte, and remember to celebrate.

I wasn't going to tell you to do life bigger tomorrow because I don't want to without him here to party with us. I wasn't going to encourage everyone to celebrate because sometimes what we're remembering is so hard for us. But, do it, I dare you. Join us in our joy and our grief, in our memories and our moments.

Tomorrow is his birthday and it's destined to be happy.

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