Celebrating My Birthday For The First Time Since My Husband DIed

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As I near the first anniversary of Peter’s death, I feel like I am a horse, (I envision a blonde statuesque, filly, in keeping with my practice of being good to myself), racing towards the finish line of the longest, and the shortest, race ever. It has been a nightmare of a challenge with me stumbling and falling, and righting myself constantly in order to keep going toward a finish line that I can’t, and shouldn’t even envision. The time has flown by in the flash of seconds, and yet paradoxically it has been an eternity on my journey through grief.

Along this yearlong process, I have managed to persevere and drive myself through the milestones of birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays with a resilience and endurance foreign to my soul. Who knew I was a shtarker? By the way the Yiddish word shtarker is translated in the Jewish English Lexicon as: “a man of great strength; a strong stout fellow.” Now I am neither stout nor a fellow but I will take this imagery to heart and pat myself on the back for my fortitude in the face of adversity. My current life’s equation is to intensely mourn the same way I deeply loved.

With all my pats and kudos, I was recently faced with my own birthday and Father’s Day all in the same weekend. A few friends surrounded me at a lunch with love and cake and comfort. I went to dinner with my son who made me cry by saying how “proud Peter would have been of me this past year.” That gets the tears going, right?

When I left dinner I drove home alone and the floodgates burst open and I wept and wept like I hadn’t in months. The only way to help me through tears is writing. I ran to my computer and penned a letter to Peter to help me through my angst.

Dear Peter:

Man does this suck! I think this is worse than all the other holidays combined. I am missing you and how you made my birthdays so special. The silly cards you made, the hugs, the kisses, the love you gave me. And the wonderful tradition of giving me presents that I always returned with you the next day like clockwork.

How alone I feel! I miss your comfort, your touch, and your laughter. Life is so empty without you. I don’t know why I feel such desolation tonight? I am growing older and you have stopped to exist. I guess this is the hardest part. I move on and add a year and you my sweet Peter have been robbed of existence. How do I go on without you? This grief journey just hit a big hurdle and I am inconsolable.

I think it is the companionship I miss the most. I would have loved to tell you about my birthday but I can’t. I am missing the comfort of arms wrapped around me which would have made me safe and whole again. Instead I feel shattered and broken. My inward desolation is palpable and vicious. I am in little pieces and I can’t put them back together. Grief is messy and ugly and hard and I miss my best friend so desperately.

Petey, please help me find a way to live again!


As if getting through my birthday wasn’t enough, I had Father’s Day to hurdle through. I decided to deflect some of the pain by writing a letter to our son and help him through his loss. Father’s Day is for Nick. He has lost his father and I wanted to help him heal so I took on the role of Dad today and told Nick about Peter’s unfathomable love and admiration for his son. I told him how I see his goodness and warmth in Nick and how Peter’s essence will ever remain in our hearts and our souls.

The filly in me trots along after this weekend of too many firsts. My soul is shattered in little pieces and I know I can’t ever put them back together again. But I feel a sense that I can try to reseal my life in a new shape and form. I won’t win the horse race and have a crown of roses festooned around my neck, but I know that I can somehow find a way to keep trotting along to my new normal.

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