Birthdays, after loss, are emotional, difficult, challenging, complicated, heavy, layered events. His birthday. My birthday. Each year they come around, there is an inner sadness feeling that is simply there, the same way that air exists in the universe. It is there, and so I carry it.

Last night I spent my birthday having dinner with a table filled with fellow widowed people. Our Soaring Spirits International social support group that meets 2x per month for lunches and coffees and dinners and incredible understanding, met last evening. At one point, I joked to the table that when I was 39 years old, which would be my last birthday that my husband Don Shepherd was alive, I would have never in a million years predicted that on my 48th birthday, I'd be sharing dinner with 8 other widowed people at Longhorn Steakhouse. Back then, the word or the thought of being "widowed" would have never entered my mind. But things are different now, and here we are ...

My birthday used to be about cake and presents and fun and being acknowledged simply for being born.

Today, I still love cake and presents. Who doesn't?

But what I love even more is the new friends Ive made through heartbreaking loss, and the ones that have stayed with me through childhood, through college, through marriage, through death. I love the life that I am creating and building, in the aftermath of tremendous pain and grief. I love knowing that I was loved so beautifully and so well by this wonderful man who died, that I can now love again and be loved again, so completely and so differently, with my person, Nicholas. I love the friends I talk to on Facebook, and here in this blog, and the birthday messages Ive been reading from everyone. I love that my current passions in life now include helping people through loss, speaking about death, and aiding people in finding the funny inside the pain. I love that I wrote a book that has words in it that can help people in their healing process. I love that after death made my world collapse, what came after was my world expanding. Love grows love.

I will always miss my husband.

I will always have that inner sadness thing that just exists like oxygen.

Its a part of me now, and I dont apologize for it, nor do I fight it.

I embrace it, because missing someone and grieving someone is the price we pay for loving them.

I sit beside it, because it is my air, and I need it in order to breathe.

Forever going forward, there is a sadness that lives within my joys.

I am more than okay with that.

I would never want to change it.

Birthdays are hard. They are also beautiful,

because living is the most precious of all the things.

Thank you all, for being a part of this life I am honored to live.

It truly does mean everything.

Showing 5 reactions

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  • Janice Hart
    commented 2019-10-04 18:28:46 -0700
    Happy Birthday Kelly. You’re a person who seems to read my heart and mind. I loved your book, it made me laugh, and it made me cry. I’m sorry I missed dinner, but would love to take you to lunch soon!!
  • Sue Howard McAulay
    commented 2019-10-04 17:11:17 -0700
    So spot on. Thanks for sharing your writing!
  • Mari Posa
    commented 2019-09-30 00:00:41 -0700
    Happy B-lated Birthday Kelley! Your post was beautifully written.
  • Debbie Fraval
    commented 2019-09-28 11:39:05 -0700
    My birthday is tomorrow and my husbands was on the 15th of September. It has been a tough couple of weeks since this is the first birthdays since he passed away. Taking it one breath at a time.
  • Julie Van Den Brandt
    commented 2019-09-28 05:49:11 -0700
    This is an incredibly beautiful post. My husband passed away August 12 of this year. October 15 would have been his 65th birthday. Instead I’m going to two grief sessions and, weather permitting, scattering his ashes along his old running route by the river. I loved the poetry of your words. You are correct, grief and missing him is now part of the air I breathe. Only someone who has lost a soulmate can understand that.
    Thank you for your words.