Today would have been David’s birthday. He and my mother share a birthday; forgetting either is not going to ever be an option. My mom is celebrating in Disneyland, which is her happy place. I don’t know where David is, but I know he is okay.
Jon and I were discussing what we should do. We’re still very cognizant of the kids, and the grief and loss they (and to some extent, even I) are still processing. Most days are fine, we talk openly and casually about our memories, both good and hard. There isn’t a weird space around conversation regarding David, and I am grateful to Jon and his tremendous heart and solid sense of self for supporting me in making room in our home for all the feelings. The kids talk easily about their love and their other more complicated feelings. There is certainly a vast amount of grace involved.
Each year on Jon’s grandfather’s birthday, he gets himself a chocolate milkshake. It was a treat they enjoyed together before his passing, and it’s a small way for Jon to remember him and give a little nod each year to his memories. We didn’t want to do anything heavy or sorrowful for the kids, but it also felt important to acknowledge the date. I decided to fix a meal David loved, Papa’s Papas- a dish from Hobees restaurant in California, with a berry yogurt power smoothie. Pretty sure he’d approve— and it seems somehow appropriate. Then for our evening walk, we’re going to 7-Evleven to get a popsicle. It’s slightly subversive, and a nod to the miles we walked together when we were poor and young, and would scrape up some change from under the seats of the car to get something cold at the convenience store. I’m pretty sure he’d laugh.
That’s actually what comes to mind most, as the months march on and the loss smooths over a little bit— his laughter. There were scores of painful things he and I went through, both together and individually, yet his laughter and his kindness is what is distilling from all those memories. I hear him. I hear his laughter when I am puzzling over something- he would laugh and remind me that I knew the right path. When I am sad or angry, I hear his kindness, reminding me to love and be kind to myself, and to forgive. Always to forgive.
So whatever faults we may have, whatever mistakes we make in life— and they can be doozies— joy and forgives are what endures, are what remains.
Happy Birthday, David. Namaste.