May 15th, 2015 is a day I will never forget. I was supposed to be on a plane headed to Key West. This was going to be our best trip yet. We had the whole long weekend planned out. Two of our best friends were going with us. It was going to be an epic unforgettable trip. But as life would have it I instead stood in front of about 300 people and gave my husband’s eulogy. Key West was one of the many things I thought of when I got up to the podium, how was I at Joeys funeral, how was I not laying on a beach with a drink in my hand next to Joey. Was this real life? It couldn’t be. It was.
Another date I will never forget is October 19th, 2015. This was my 32nd birthday. I spent it getting a spinal tap to confirm my diagnoses of multiple sclerosis. Yes, I did book my appointment for it on purpose on my birthday. I didn’t want to celebrate it at all. This was my way of making sure there was no surprise birthday in store for me.
So here I am a year later, still here fighting the good fight. I realize now life is what you make of it. You can be angry and upset for the rest of your days at the cards you have been dealt or you can make the best of it. Very few of us get to live the life we plan out in our dreams. Plans change, flights get canceled and unfortunately our loved ones die. We must keep living and really living. Not just existing, we must see the beauty in life, feel the breeze, smell the ocean and take the next leap. Even if that’s alone without the love of our lives.
So this year for my 33rd birthday I will celebrate in style, the way Joey would want me to. I will be in Key West and I will complete everything on our bucket list. I will snorkel in the reef and eat at Sloppy Joes. I will go to a local drag show and eat lionfish. I will do all of this with him in my heart and knowing he is smiling down. There will be tears I know it. There will be a moment where I can feel his presence right next to me. But I will live, for me and him.
Sometimes this new life of mine still hits me like a train. I relive his accident and funeral and they seem like yesterday. The pain is still so real, but I think it always will be. It will never fade and in that pain I will always find his smile and laugh. I will always have my reason for fighting on. I will smile in the storm and finish our list.