Today was Mike’s birthday. He would have been 45.

We would have gone out for sushi tonight, as we did every year on his birthday. We’d take the kids, sit at the sushi bar, and build a tower with the empty plates. At the end of the meal, the wait staff would bring him a silly hat and sing some kind of ridiculous Japanese birthday song. Then we’d go home and have ice cream cake, and the kids would lick the frosting off the candles.

Instead I microwaved a Lean Cuisine to eat with my mom, and I tried not to cry in my spaghetti.

I’ve been sitting at the computer for the last hour, watching Mike on video. Three short films, several musical performances, and a sketch that he wrote and performed with some of our friends from Hothouse. Hearing his voice, looking into his eyes on film… it’s equal parts comforting and excruciating. Listening to him wail on the guitar, or the mournful strains of his cello, reminds me of a hundred times when I listened to him practice at home or cheered myself hoarse at one of his gigs. And his humor still makes me laugh, no matter how many times I’ve heard these lines.

On his birthday, I’m thinking of all the gifts Mike gave me… and I don’t just mean the little bass player statue that he made for me out of the leftover wood from the first bass guitar he ever made. I’m thinking of gifts like unconditional acceptance and support, side-splitting laughter, and the best sex I ever had. I’m thinking of the way he looked at me when we said our wedding vows and the way he trusted me with his heart. A few days after he died, my sister sent me a text message: “To be loved by a man such as Mike for even one day is more than many women experience in a lifetime.”

Six years wasn’t enough. We had so much left to share, so much yet to experience and do together. But every day that we loved each other was a gift, and I’ll treasure the memories always.

Happy birthday, my love, wherever you are. Thank you for sharing yourself with me.


~ by hourbeforedawn on January 8, 2011.

4 Responses to “Birthday”

  1. What beautiful memories. I found Michael’s birthday difficult to get through last year, yet it also made me feel so close to him. Your words of celebrations past, and present, are all so familiar.

    Peace to you Lira.

  2. What is it with our loved ones having January birthdays? We just went through Daniel’s brother’s birthday and my sister’s. While our loss isn’t nearly as fresh as yours each birthday is still difficult. I’m holding you in my heart as you move through these memories and begin to create new ones. We never forget but we do have to keep moving.

  3. This one makes me cry, hon. Your sister summed it up so well!! Your loving memories and dedication to “mining for the gold” in your relationship with Mike is awesome (in the non-80s sense). 🙂 Much love to you as you keep on keeping on.

  4. Thank you for sharing your gifts of wisdom with us. this gives me another way to look at Mother’s day and my moms birthday. Instead of focusing on what I lost, focus on what she gave me.

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