Thursday, July 21, 2011

July and December

My whole life, I have loved two months of the year more than any other: July and December.

My birthday is in July, and I have long cherished every day of this month of ice cream cones, fireworks, swimming, and picnics. With my birthday tucked at the end, the cherry on top.

And then Robb and I chose to get married on July 22. Two days before my birthday.

(I turned 21 on our honeymoon. Wasn't I such a baby girl? 21. And my friends and I were so impressed with Robb, a real man at age 24. Whew! Maturity defined, undoubtedly.)

And then Robb died, two days before Christmas.

My two favorite holidays have rested at a polarized axis across the calendar. Now a dark cloud of blackest heartache looms just two days before each one.

These four dates will never change for the rest of my life. More will be added, but those four will never change.

How do I resist the pull to relinquish the joy attached to the days I have loved?

How do I keep this cycle from becoming an annual self-fulfilling prophesy?

I said to my therapist, "I have always loved July. Now I am beginning to hate July."

She said, "We need to change that."

"But how?"

"Well, we need to get you excited about your birthday."

"But I'm not. I want to skip it."

"But your boys want to celebrate it. And they need to learn to. For the rest of their lives, that day will matter to them. And Robb would be teaching them now how to love you well. You need to acknowledge the day, Tricia. Have a birthday. For your little boys."

I've got to learn to love July again. And somehow, someday, December, too.

6 comments:

Penny said...

I pray you find your joy again soon. And your therapist is right~ you need to find it in you to celebrate your birthday and anniversary week for the boys' sakes.... and your own. Remember, without those two dates, your beautiful little guys wouldn't exist~ you wouldn't exist~ and the life you had with Robb wouldn't have, either. Most people never have what you had with Robb. You, and that life, are worthy of celebration. You really are. (I'm pretty sure Robb would agree.:)

Jaimie said...

You have such a great therapist.

Jan Verhoeff said...

My grandfather died on Christmas morning, the year I turned 11. Not nearly so traumatic as losing your husband, in your arms, two days before Christmas, but for a little girl, traumatic. Only one person at school acknowledged that he'd passed away after we went back. The day seemed some how CHARRED after that, for the longest time. Then, one day I realized that although to me, Christmas was tainted by the loss, it also was blessed by the cause. Christmas is a gift and the gift wasn't taken away when I lost my Grandfather. The GIFT became more important because I lost my grandfather. I want to see him again, and I know he's in heaven. I CAN see him again because of the Gift of Christmas. What an incredible reminder that the GIFT of Christmas is eternal!

That didn't happen overnight, and we celebrated Christmas (opened gifts) on Christmas Eve for years afterward, but the realization slowly took hold and I understand now that the loss is temporary, the gain is eternal.

I posted a blog today about God's will and God's timing - we serve an amazing God. You already know that... but this may bless you too. http://janverhoeff.com/blog

Maryellen said...

Tricia, July 25th would have been our 30th anniversary and I too am not having a good week so far. The day looms, a reminder of what I no longer have. A reminder that if I am lucky enough to love again I will likely never reach this milestone again. Oh how I miss him today. The tears are close to the surface at all times and I can't seem to stay busy enough to outrun this wave of grief. Have a blessed birthday my friend.

Janet said...

Tricia, I hope and pray that God will give you some unexpected blessings today, this special day, this day you remember the joy of your wedding to Robb. Teach the boys that this day is to be celebrated, because without it there would have been no Tuck and Ty. And they are worth it all!!

I also hope and pray that your birthday will be a delight. I'll be praying.

Wender said...

I can empathize with your not wanting to celebrate your birthday.

My dad died the morning of my 16th birthday (in July, as your is). His cancer had already changed our lives in ways we never could have imagined, but the morning of my 16th birthday, cancer did the unthinkable.

So I can empathize with your birthday feeling so bitter that you think there can't possibly be any sweetness in it.

But there will be sweetness. Your therapist is right; you need to celebrate your birthday. But you don't have to do it this year.

It took me 15 years to feel okay about celebrating my birthday. It may take you less, it may take you more; someday, someday you will feel okay celebrating your special day again. And you will know deep in your heart that as you and your sweet boys celebrate your birthday here, your precious husband will be celebrating your birthday Up There.

My prayers are with you ...