October 16, he would have been 61. We would have celebrated. I would have made him a birthday apple pie. Instead, I will be at Arlington National Cemetery to bury the ashes of my husband, the love of my life. When the funeral planner finally called to set a date, I chose his birthday for a few reasons, the first being that this former day of celebration has turned into another hard, sad day to get through. Rather than add another sad event date to the calendar, I will honor his wishes to have his final military ceremony on his birthday. October 16 was the day he came into this world and I find it fitting to lay his ashes to rest on the same date.
Our daughters will be with me, probably holding me up. They seem to do that a lot these days. I am grateful for these two young women. I would not have made it through the last 16 months without them. In my darkest times, they are what kept me from doing the unthinkable. I could not be so selfish to end my pain by causing more for them. Sometimes I feel guilty for not being the strong mother I used to be, but rather a shell of that person who is often so grief stricken that I can’t console them. Their world has turned upside. They miss being able to have their dad around for advise and support. He was the calming force in our lives.
So this October 16, there will be no birthday pie, no singing happy birthday, no presents that he would have said you shouldn’t have bought (and really meant it). There will be quiet prayers, a lone bugler, a 21-gun salute, and, yes, more tears. We will remember a life cut short, a good man gone way too soon.
Happy birthday, babe. I miss you every day. Mark, there is a hole in my heart and such an emptiness since you have been gone. Nothing prepared me for such sadness. You truly are the best thing that ever happened to me. I hope you knew that. I hope you knew how much happiness you brought to my life and the kids’ lives. I love you.