The 7th First - My 44th Birthday
April 9th, 2019 was my 44th birthday and my first birthday without Joni in 26 years. Reading that, you’d think that I’d be devastated. And I’d certainly be justified feeling that way and spending the day with my face buried in a pillow with a box of Kleenex nearby and another box on standby. But...I wasn’t, and I’m not today (the day after). Why is that?
Well, remember my last post about grief being unpredictable? Yeah. That. I recently announced that I’ve been seeing a wonderful woman named Belinda (Belle) for about 2 months. She and I both know and accept that holidays are going to be a crapshoot. I honestly wasn’t even sure how to plan for the day because I didn’t know how I’d feel. But the day came and I wanted her to be part of the celebration.
From 4/1 to 4/9 she has given me a gift a day, all hand-wrapped with Overwatch wrapping paper with little flair she did on her own. Each day was a special, meaningful gift. How could I deny this woman the opportunity to see me open the final gift? I was uncertain about the 9th up until the evening of the 8th, but even then I wanted to give myself the grace and space to decide to have the day just be me and the kids if it came to that. But I didn’t. I wanted her to be part of the day.
Was the day difficult? Sure, it had its moments of pain, but it held far more moments of happiness and pleasant memories. Joni always made sure I felt celebrated. The kids and Belle absolutely lived up to her efforts. I imagined Joni being there with us in spirit, laughing as we laughed, smiling that incredible smile, sharing favorite memories, and looking on in fond approval. I missed her on my birthday, but not in an achy, heart-wrenchingly painful way.
I wish what happened to Joni had never happened. I still don’t understand the why - the foggy mirror remains foggy. But there is still love in my life. There are still bright spots like my wonderful friends, my amazing children, and my new love Belle. And while not knowing why God allowed events to unfold as they did is something I will likely wrestle with for awhile, I try to be content knowing that one day the foggy mirror will be completely erased. And until that time, He surrounds me with people who remind me of His goodness and love and who will comfort me, celebrate me, and honor the memory of Joni in ways even they are not aware of.
Thanks for reading.