Today we celebrate what would have been my sister’s 30th birthday. We don’t really have anything planned, because my family’s whole focus had been on preparing for my wedding. I chuckled to myself imagining how she would have chided me about that; how she would’ve teased and pretended to be bothered, but still been by my side the whole way. When we were little girls we used to both count down to my birthday because it began our season of joy. My birthday, then three weeks later her birthday, then within a week Thanksgiving, then a few weeks later Christmas and then the New Year. These were incredibly joyous times for our family – we love the holidays and food and gift giving and time together. R really loved the holidays and I can still hear her excitedly telling me that my birthday was around the corner. She wasn’t just excited for me but for us – our season was coming.
It wasn’t planned to put our wedding day in the middle of that season as much as it was of need for a venue, but I am so happy that it is now incorporated into this time of year. Our wedding day was beautiful. Truthfully the greatest wedding I have ever been to, and possibly everyone feels that way about their day. But it was an amazing congregation of all the people in our lives that are important to us supporting our connection to each other. When D looked at me and promised: “I choose to love you every day,” my heart swelled with pride and peace knowing that from this day through forever we would be family. Regardless of what life brings, he will forever be my family. He will be my “us” now.
I know that we both feared that we would feel a hole or sad on the day of without R and his mom, but we were so surrounded by love that it never felt that way. We took time to incorporate small, maybe not completely noticeable, celebrations of who they each were to us. And it just felt like they were there. Not every milestone has felt that way since R was taken from us. I struggled through my college graduation and first apartment and many others.
Grief is funny in the way that it will hit you at times and then one day you realize there are more times of peace – not less missing, just more peace. Somewhere along the way the holidays took their meaning back and her birthday feels more like a time to celebrate. I hope that this becomes true for D and his family as the years pass after his beloved mom’s death. She too loved the holidays and I have big shoes to fill in decorating the house for him and making sure there are adequate amounts of pie to be had. I think she would have loved the pie at our wedding.
I miss R every day, not with the same gut wrenching intensity, and I would still choose to have her here. I have cried a few times in this process – I think I will always cry for her, but the love and support and commitment of my family (old and new) has been a true reminder to revel in the seasons of joy.
Hi, I'm Tiffany. I believe in the power of stories to connect us to each other. I write about life after loss and all the love, longing, and learning that comes from it. Grief is big, love is bigger. My newest stories are about motherhood (after both infertility and loss). In my experience, love doesn't get bigger than motherhood.
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