Tomorrow is Daniel's 39th birthday. I haven't seen him since he was 35, and that thought surprises me in a way that seems ridiculous. I know he's been gone three and a half years, but not seeing him since he was 35? "Inconceivable!" The passage of time is a mystery to me. There are moments when it seems like he just left, and others when it feels like a lifetime since we last talked. Time passes regardless, and it appears to pick up speed with each year.
To celebrate this year, Grayson and I loaded up on Friday and headed to the Texas coast. Daniel loved the ocean and would try to escape to Rockport whenever he could. We have really wonderful old friends who live there and they are always game to celebrate with us, whatever the occasion. My father-in-law and his wife joined us for dinner last night, and we ended up sitting around the table telling old stories on each other and on Daniel in particular. There were some really great ones, and a few tears of laughter shared in response. It is always a comfort to me to be surrounded by friends and family who can remember and smile. We didn't used to be able to do that, it was too painful for everyone. Now, as time passes like a speeding bullet, we find it easier and easier to remember and celebrate the joy he brought us and laugh out loud at the crazy things he did while he was here.
My husband, though with us for a shorter time than any of us planned, lived a fantastic life and was a wonderful man. As I reflect on his birthday and on the millions of happy memories of us I have recorded in my brain, I am so grateful that I was given the opportunity to share his life. What a gift he was to me!
Happy Birthday Daniel. I hope you are playing Heaven's Augusta tomorrow and drinking a Jack and Coke.