Today is Brian’s birthday. He would have been 37. Ethne and I got back to our hotel room late last night and talked for a long while about how much we miss him. She listed dozens of things that “he would love.” Mostly things that have happened in the last five months. I forget that she is just five years old because she is so wise beyond her years. She always has been, but losing Brian has made it more apparent. By the end of the conversation we were holding each other on the bed, both of us a mess of tears.
I am trying so hard to take care of my children. I worry so much about how Brian’s death will affect them in the long term. I know what a profound impact a father can have on his children. My dad could literally do no wrong when I was a little girl. We had so much fun together. Some of my very favorite memories growing up have my dad at the center of them. To have that ripped away at such a young age is so unfair.
Life has been so hard. So exhausting. I don’t think I will ever understand the timing of things. Brian died precisely when I needed him the most. So very many things have happened in such a short amount of time. Being a widow has me appreciating my marriage more than I think I ever did when Brian was alive. I took so much for granted in spite of what I knew about our probable time line.
I can scarcely describe how I feel. It’s like I’m suddenly ill-equipped to function, I’m like a social misfit. Going from half of a strong partnership to suddenly alone has me feeling misplaced. I feel like I need a t-shirt that says our person died or he would be here. He wanted so badly to be here, he tried so hard to be here.
Now, I know in my head this isn’t the case. I know that because I’ve done so many things that I wouldn’t have done before. That I thought I couldn’t do. I credit my mom completely with this because of her gentle, loving way of holding me accountable. How many times this week alone have I come to her with a disappointment only to be met with, “Call them or do this or tell someone that, and then call me back and tell me what happened.” That push toward action and the need to report back has really helped me to be a dynamic advocate for myself when I would have otherwise done nothing, or had Brian take care of things for us.
Today will be one of the hard ones. I couldn’t sleep last night. I cried more than I have in awhile. It’s not enough to say I miss him. I do know that he wouldn’t want us to be too sad today. So Ethne and I are continuing our little getaway and we are going to the zoo. And I promised to find us some carrot cake because that’s what we would be having with Brian.
Happy birthday to the one I would pick over and over again. We love and miss you every moment.