It would have been my Stinky's 28th birthday today, in Earth years. It's the second birthday he is celebrating in Heaven. We never celebrated his birthday together. The first year we were together, 2009, he was in Jacksonville and I hadn't moved down there yet because our wedding was still a few months away. I sent him a box of clothes I'd picked out for him, and I think some candy. I joked with him that he was a grandpa-old man because he was turning 25 - a quarter of a century (Yes, that's what I turned this year, I don't want to talk about it!). He loved the clothes, and laughed and joked back about being an oldman grandpa. It was a good birthday even though we weren't together.
When he turned 26, he was in Afghanistan. For his birthday, we sent him a DVD of us gals (me and A) telling him happy birthday. We sang to him, we blew him kisses. We also included the DVD of A from right after she was born; first bath, those kinds of things. We sent him tons of photos. We sent goodies, typical care package stuff. He loved it. He especially loved the video footage and getting to see his girls. He said he got teary-eyed watching A get her first bath because she was crying and so upset. Oh how he loved that baby girl and he hadn't even met her. It was so obvious. He thought she was the bees knees. He just couldn't wait to meet her.
He called the day of his birthday. I was so excited to talk to him, I think it was one of the first times I'd talked to him since he pushed forward into Marjah. I was so excited to talk to him that I just kind of started babbling on about all the new things A was doing and how we were. Then he said someone had let him use the sat phone because it was his birthday. Of course I hadn't forgotten his birthday but I just got so excited talking to him I didn't say it right away. I said something along the lines of "OH MY GOD HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I knew it was your birthday and I was so excited for your birthday I just forgot to say it, gosh I suck" I know it went something like that. He didn't mind. He was happy to talk to us for his birthday.
He died less than a month later.
On his 27th birthday, I got a call from a good friend who had been down in Wilmington telling me Ballyhoo! was playing. Jonny and I had gone to see Ballyhoo! so many times, and I was actually trying to create a fundraising benefit concert featuring Ballyhoo! (it completely fell through) so it was pretty crazy that they were in NC (they're a MD local band) on his birthday, even if it wasn't for my event that had fallen through. I had asked them to sing Happy Birthday to him but of course it got forgotten and I was so mad. I went out back waiting for my friends to be ready to go, when my dear friend who told us about it in the first place came down the stairs to tell me her husband was in a fight. We rushed up to see what was going on and there was no fight, just the guys of Ballyhoo! standing around. They apologized for missing "Happy Birthday" and of course I had talked to the only guy without a mic to do it - HA. So, they personally sang Happy Birthday to Jonny just for me and my friends. It was a pretty awesome evening celebrating his birthday, a way he would have loved.
Yesterday, I felt the need for a little date night with my now bf Z. I wasn't really tying it in to Jonny's birthday, since that's today, but we ended up going to see Act of Valor. It might not have been the best idea considering his birthday was the next day and it was extremely emotional (I was wailing in the theatre - more on my opinion of the movie later). I wasn't quite ready to go home after being shaken up, so Z and I went to a local bar for some food and drink. As the hours ticked away to Jonny's birthday I kept thinking of how we might have been spending it. It actually seemed like a fitting evening. A local country band was playing in the bar just by chance, and minutes before midnight they sang Toby Keith's "Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue," a song I used to YELL and Jonny would comment about how motarded I am and that he's surprised I don't have a high-and-tight - a song that definitely reminds me of Jonny and the laughter we shared. After midnight, Z went up and asked the band if they'd do a shoutout for Jonny, which they did. It was really nice of him to acknowledge it was my husband's birthday. And it was definitely a way I could see spending his birthday if he were here to spend it with. I certainly felt his presence with me!
Today was just a chill day. I went over to my mom and dads with the baby we just kind of hung out. Had some sweet buffet from Golden Corral for dinner. It's the 4th bday of his we've celebrated apart - o wait, that's all of them!! I always wonder what we'd do if we'd actually been together for any of them, so I just try to celebrate them in what seems most fitting.
I love celebrating his life. Does it get me down? Yup. He's not here and I'd give anything to celebrate with him. But if he can't be here, I'll celebrate for him. I will continue to be happy and grateful that he was in my life for the short time that he was. I will thank my lucky stars that I was blessed with that love, even if it was taken away what I believe to have been far, FAR too soon. I speak of him daily and that obviously doesn't change on his birthday. I miss him so much, but instead of being sad, I will just be happy that I had what I did with him. And that our love is eternal and nothing, not even death can change that. That I can still feel his love for me from Heaven, and I'm pretty sure he can still feel my love for him from here to Heaven.
Happy birthday, my angel. I love you forever and ever, babe. To the moon and back.