White Noise

I’m going to (try to) keep this short, simple, and to-the-point.  Megan’s birthday was yesterday...the third since her death.  She would have been 36, which, for someone born in the early 80’s with Cystic Fibrosis, is twice the normal life expectancy.  

The first thing I thought of when I opened my eyes in the morning yesterday was Megan’s birthday.  It was the last thing that went through my head as I closed them in the evening.  Her birthday cycled through my head off-and-on all day, just as it had been doing for the past few weeks.  

It is what it is.  It’s white noise.


There isn’t anything I can do to distract me from it.  Being at work is no remedy, nor is going for a hike, watching TV, reading, or playing a game.  The thoughts just exist, neither stressful or joyful.  I acknowledge them, consciously think of Megan for a moment, and go about my day.  

It didn’t used to be this way.  For some time, thinking of Megan with a heightened awareness would often lead me down a spiral, forming representations in my mind of her lying in a hospital bed, or suffering on a couch waiting for an ambulance to arrive.  Of dragging an oxygen hose behind her everywhere she went and her emaciated frame struggling to lower herself into a bathtub.  It was all things that i had seen and experienced, that i wish I never had to.

These days though, consciously thinking of her brings happier thoughts.  Shelby will do something as simple as eat a raw bean from our garden, and NOT turn her nose up, and I’ll think of how proud Megan would be to see her trying new things without solicitation.  I can be proud for the BOTH of us.  I’ll look back to trips we took, nights on the couch watching TV, or any other of the multitude of things we did together, and instead of mourning their loss, I'll celebrate that we had something to lose in the first place.  I got to have 12 birthdays with her.  I’ll have many more without her, but still, I GOT to have 12.   

Maybe it is something as simple as time marching forward that has allowed days that would have been stressful, such as her birthday, to evolve into “just another day”.  After three years of near constant white noise in the background, humming “Megan is dead, Megan is dead”, I’ve adapted to where a significant day like her birthday sounds the same.  When EVERY day has something that sparks a remembrance of Megan, however insignificant, it all melds into one steady rhythm.  

This is not to say that we didn’t make this a special day.  Shelby and Sarah picked up a pie and flowers, simply in honor of Megan.  Shelby made sure that some of the flowers were purple, Megan’s favorite color.  I posted on Megan’s facebook wall for the first time in a while, because it was her birthday.  I made sure that Shelby talked to Megan’s parents for a bit on the phone, if only because of this particular position in the earth’s 365 day orbit around the sun.

All told though, yesterday was really not all that different than any other day.  I had a bit of a moment in the evening, I mean, as much as I we say “time heals all wounds”, it never fully closes them without scars.  But I was ready for it.  I knew it was coming at some point.  My wife is still dead.  Shelby’s mom is still dead.  I would think it worse to NOT have a moment on the date signifying the woman’s birth.  Regardless, it was passing because of that white noise that’s always there.  In layman’s terms...I’m used to it.

So, I had a 2-minute-sniffle, ate my piece of pie, and proceeded to watch funny YouTube videos with two ladies that are still here, and one that isn’t.

We didn’t ignore the fact that it was Megan’s birthday.

We celebrated it as if she was there with us.    


Showing 4 reactions

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  • Cathy
    commented 2017-07-26 10:15:14 -0700
    Today would have been my husbands 70th. July 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, and 24 were also bdays, wedding anni, dates of death of family members. Just as we remember those living on special occasions, I think of those gone like you do, Mike, throughout the day. How can we forget? They were a part of our lives when living, and will continue to be when gone.
  • Lisa Richardson
    commented 2017-07-25 22:22:27 -0700
    I decided not to fight those days. Instead I plan something special to honor and remember him. After six years the only thing I know for certain is I’ll never “get over it” but like you I’m getting used to just “being” with it.
  • Pam Hartman
    commented 2017-07-25 17:36:56 -0700
    Mike: October 26th will be my fourth year of celebrating his birth day. I have close friends who always remember the special holidays of the heart. You’re right in that while time softens the edges of knowing and life hums along, you still ache with the loss. Longfellow has a wonderful poem on the secret holidays of the heart.
    “The holiest of all holidays are those
    Kept by ourselves in silence and apart;
    The secret anniversaries of the heart,
    When the full river of feeling overflows;—
    The happy days unclouded to their close;
    The sudden joys that out of darkness start
    As flames from ashes; swift desires that dart
    Like swallows singing down each wind that blows!
    White as the gleam of a receding sail,
    White as a cloud that floats and fades in air,
    White as the whitest lily on a stream,
    These tender memories are;—a fairy tale
    Of some enchanted land we know not where,
    But lovely as a landscape in a dream.”
  • Joseph Kearney
    commented 2017-07-25 07:51:08 -0700
    Your perspective on this is duly noted and appreciated. I have yet to experience a birthday without her (November 29th). I can only tell you that I know it’s going to be tough and there is no way, like you, I will be distracted from it.