As it’s midnight and I see the day change to October 30th, it would be easy to sit and wallow and fall into the fog of melancholy and grief. That’s an easy path, the one that presents itself, pretty, enticing, and menacing at the same time.
But I’ve never been one to take the easy path.
Today, October 30th, my wife, Andrea, would have been 43. That’s her up there, something like 17 or 18, in her flag corps uniform. I found the picture last night.
The better remembrance, though, is this:
You can see how it would be easy to despair when that person, who you spent half your life with, has left you behind. She passed away at the age of 40, far too young for someone who up there looks so vibrant.
But I’m not despairing because today, her birthday, is a celebration. I do so because, for so many years, I got it wrong. I work in television and I had to work late most years on her birthday because of ratings periods that began, invariably, on her birthday. This year, unfortunately, I do the same. Not because of ratings but because of a basketball game. It’s not a complaint, though my children weren’t overly enthused, but I have other benefits the rest of the year. I see today as payment for the opportunity to pick up my son when he’s sick or visit the doctor and come in late with no repercussions.
Still . . . this is no longer Andrea’s birthday. Well, it is, but it’s not. We’ve changed it, turned the day on its head. This is celebration day and we talk about everything we’ve gained, not what we’ve lost. We want those around us to do that, too. We honor the past, the people who love and loved us, and look at what we have as a result. I tell those around me to do the same.
I’ve gained a sister. It’s true. Andrea’s sister and I were always close, but she was Andrea’s sister. That was the bond. Today, we visit like visiting my brothers or my parents and it’s comfortable and natural and I see her and her children and I have no despair, I am blessed to know that they’re a greater part of my life. They always were, but through Andrea. Now I’m the point of contact and I see the amazing woman that shares DNA with the woman I loved and I have nothing but happiness in knowing I’m closer now than I would have been.
I have friends around me that I would not have had three years ago. It’s hard to admit you need help, but you get it.
I have friends that are now my friends when 3 years ago they were “Andrea’s friend” and now I say, without hesitation or thought, “this is my friend.” A friend who has been through hell I cannot even imagine but I see as dear and strong and impressive and I’m so very happy to have them in my life in a far greater role than they were before.
I have people that were always there who I see in far more tender light than ever before.
All these people, all these things, the adventures we’ve taken, the trips we’ve made, the life we’re leading, the home we have, the job I work, the things we do . . . all of them are direct results of the fact that this amazing woman isn’t here anymore, not physically. Her influence is mighty. None of these people would be in our lives without her. But we live now, as she’s moved on, and we live differently, love differently, and we celebrate. We celebrate what having and losing her has brought to us . . . and what we have yet to see, hear, love and experience.
Today . . . is Celebration Day!