May 4, 2015

May 5th...How I Love and Hate You


Holidays and birthdays.

I cry through them.
I sleep through them.
I fake a smile through them.
I sometimes pretend they don't exist.
I travel on them to avoid them.
I drink too much on a few of them.
I can't breathe days before them knowing they are coming.

I celebrate and laugh during some again.
I take pictures on a few of them again.
I  am peaceful again on a few of them.

My 11 and 15 year old have to deal with them too.
The boys celebrate some and want to forget others. 
The boys struggle sometimes with their emotions leading up to them.
The boys sometimes agree on how we handle them and sometimes don't...those are the toughest.
I know it is hard for them to articulate how they feel. It hurts to watch them hurt and not know how to say how much it hurts.

The 3 of us talk about holidays and birthdays in advance. We have a plan. We know details. We are all aware of how the day will be but all know if it blows up and we need to leave, we leave. If we need to disappear for a bit, we do it. If we want to cry through the whole damn day, we cry. If we want to blow the day off and go to the beach to laugh and enjoy each other, we do it.
No assumptions.
No traditions.
No rules.
Just get through the day.

I have learned to tuck my needs away.
Suck it up Sandra....you can do it.
Smile. Cry later.
Do what the boys want and need. But sometimes the boys don't know what they want and need.

How do I handle a day one wants to quietly move through and one wants to celebrate? 

Go with your gut Sandra.
Tomorrow is one of those days.

May 5th.
Cinco de Mayo.
Pat's birthday.

Grief is a wave. It moves slowly and softly yet can pick up speed and come crashing down. Pat's birthday is as unpredictable as the waves. You think you are going into the day gently and then you crash. You can't breathe. You are mad, sad, pissed off and the next moment you are smiling celebrating him...missing him more than ever.

And then back to gentle as I share stories of birthday celebrations with Jack and Charlie.....a sombrero wearing doll holding a Corona in the front lawn wishing him a happy 40th, a shot of tequila with friends singing happy birthday in multiple languages, a Miley Cyrus birthday cake because that was the only one left at the bakery or a beautiful dinner in a quaint French town with his lovely laugh, a goatee and leather jacket.

Memories I have and cherish.
Memories I want the boys to know.
Memories that make me smile and also makes my heart ache.
Memories we hold onto because he will always be 41.

Now we move forward and create our own celebrations.  Doing it the old way is too painful. Painful because he is not here. Our celebrations have changed...some for the better.  Less stress, more family time and little care or concern about "what you should do". Rather enjoying and loving the people we are celebrating with.

Tomorrow is one of those days. The 3 of us will all celebrate Pat in our own way. We will talk, cry, laugh or scream. Whatever each of us chooses to do it will be okay.

No judgement.
We all ride our own waves.

I know our family and friends will celebrate him in their own way. Thank you for loving him and remembering him. I know you don't want to tell me but I know you ride your own waves too.

Tomorrow we will eat pizza and enjoy Dairy Queen ice cream cake...Pat's favorites for his birthday.
Tomorrow will be the 3rd year we celebrate without him.
Tomorrow will be different than the past two birthdays without him.
Next May 5th will be different too.
And we will all be okay.

If you have a birthday of your loved one approaching....be gentle with yourself. Talk to your kids about what they want to do. Celebrate. Don't celebrate. Just remember to breathe. You will get through it and be okay.

P.S. Happy Birthday Patrick Joseph Began. I think I will be having a few margaritas to celebrate you.




6 comments:

Julia Turner said...

❤️ beautiful.

Dan Thome said...

Happy birthday Patrick and best to you Sandra and the boys. XXXOOO

Sandra, The Widow Project said...

Thank you Julia and Dan for your comments. They mean a lot.

Lisa Gastaldo said...

Beautifully put! I, too, am a widowed mother of two boys.They were 13 and 15 when we lost Matt. The dilemma of whether to celebrate or mourn holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries is still one we face, even 6+ years later. Your title drew me in because May 5th is our wedding anniversary. 2015 would have been our 25th.

I sincerely love your writing! <3 Best to you and your boys!!

Sandra Began said...

Lisa,

First and foremost I am so sorry for your loss. Yes as you know holidays are difficult and every year we react and deal with them differently. I think May 5th will be forever a tough day for both of us.
Thank you for reading my blog and leaving your lovely comments. It means so much. I am now following your blog, Big Girl Panties, and appreciate so many of your posts as I can relate to your thoughts and emotions too.
My best to you and your boys!

Lisa Gastaldo said...

Thank you, Sandra. Your words and following touches me deeply! My own "May 5th" piece isn't on my blog, but you can see it here:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kindness-blog/for-better-or-worse-a-25th-anniversary-love-letter-to-my-dead-husband_b_7213722.html

It's bittersweet, but comforting to connect with someone else who is a member of this "sorority." I look forward to reading all your future pieces.

Take care!