Happy 69th earth birthday my love Larry and your second in heaven.
I am positive that earth birthdays are of no consequence in Heaven, but down here they serve as another day of remembrance (as if I don’t think of you every day…).
As I was scrolling through pictures to include in the compilation, I came across some that reminded me of your pain while down here on earth. The pictures of your toes that we took to show the doctor were especially cringe-worthy. I saw pictures of the home dialysis machine that reminded me of your sheer strength and will. The dialysis bags that I loaded with antibiotics to treat the painful peritonitis, the hospital board with the last pain med schedule (that didn’t touch your pain).
Even through all the pain you put on your game face, smiled, joked, and didn’t want to leave us here.
Then I focused on joyful pictures of milestone events – you smiling with kids and seeing your eyes light up with the grandlittles. Smiling with Jonathan when they came to town for spring break. Your happiness when you saw Madison for the first time. Your adoration of Malea and Bristol. Holding Andrew after he came home. Holding the puppies. Your un-birthday in March 2019 when Janis came to town to visit. Your pride and joy when you heard Jen sing – by herself and with GCBR. Your happiness that we were able to facetime in to Joe and Jen’s wedding – you were so proud! Spending time with your sister Rachelle, and cousins Barry, Janis, & Paula. Finding long-lost family. The big 65th surprise birthday party (you were really surprised – especially when Jonathan walked in the door)! I think of our trips through the years, wandering the coast of Lake Erie, going to festivals, stopping in Mayberry on the way back from Florida, the aquarium in Chattanooga (I almost peed my pants laughing at you), and NYC in 2008. Going to Indians games. Exploring Cleveland. How people still think of calling you when they are going on trips. I think of the fun we had and that sometimes my sarcastic replies would hit you just the right way and you would laugh until your stomach hurt. I also think that even though you took great pleasure in expensive things, simple things brought you joy. Like planning our “cookies and milk” wedding, mowing the lawn, planting a garden, and watching the birds at the feeders. You especially loved the goldfinches.
I am reminded that you taught me about true and abiding love. Through the countless good times and not so good times you supported me and I you. You challenged me to be a better person and I like to think that our discussions helped you too.
Although I miss you every day, wishing you were back is not an option because I could never bear to see you in so much pain. Ever.
I will honor you and miss you as long as I am breathing…
PS – As I was sitting here wiping my tears and getting ready to post your birthday greeting, I glanced out the window and saw a goldfinch at the birdfeeder! How appropriate that the first sighting of the year was at this very moment… Thank you!