Yesterday would have been Eric’s 42nd birthday. This time of year typically puts me into a spin cycle, hurtling me towards the anniversary of his death on October 29, then to the holidays where his presence is noticeably absent, then finally spits me out sometime in January, when the frigid weather numbs my raw emotions. My brother Luke’s birthday was August 31, and mine is coming up on Sunday. We always celebrated our birthdays together, my two brothers and I. With all three birthdays little more than a week apart, it was not only convenient for my family, but was a special bond we all shared.
This year, we celebrated Luke’s birthday separately, and it felt nice. I couldn’t help but feel, though, the void in between. With my birthday coming up on Sunday, we’ve lost the connection in the middle. The missing birthday. I’ve struggled a bit with throwing big birthday bashes for myself ever since Eric’s death because it just never felt right. It feels somehow selfish, to revel in the joy of being alive another year, when someone you love isn’t.
Maybe this year will be different. With my oldest in preschool, I can already feel a change. Fall will mean a fresh new start, and not just another reminder of Eric’s death. Maybe this year, my birthday will feel different, too.