Happy Birthday Louise

It’s Louise’s birthday today, and I am a bit subdued. A year of firsts continues on. Seems to me that the further we get into the year the more I miss her. Today we would have had a party. She was all about birthday celebrations, never over the top, just family and cake. Whatever time we had, the week before, or the week after didn’t matter as long as we celebrated life. For as long as I knew her it was the custom to go to her house for the party. It was always at her house because she was the life of the party. She saw it as her role and she was oh so good at it.
The last couple of years, while she was sick she came to us for her birthday instead of the other way around. I guess I was fortunate to have that time to adjust to the slow decline before we lost her, but today I don’t feel fortunate. I feel like there is a huge hole where the party would have been. Her smile and that sparkle in her eyes are missing from my day…and my life. Today would have been a day to celebrate her life. She would have laughed and talked about being an old lady. I would have said I hope to be as active as you are when I am your age. She would have opened her cards, read every word, and known I meant them. She would have loved, or pretended to love, the token gifts from each of the kids. She would have had strawberries on her cake…with whipped cream. She would have lit her own candles and waited for Happy Birthday to ring out so she could blow them out. It would have been a small, but heartfelt birthday dinner.
Instead I feel a void. Cancer took her from us. Took her mind first, then her body. It makes me angry, but mostly today, it makes me sad. Her life was a testimony to joy. She poured herself into the rest of us and we will always celebrate the fact that we had many years of her kind attention. Her spunky spirit reminded us never to take life to seriously, and always to do things our own way. She was good at that. Today her way would be for those of us she left behind to picture her smiling and completely whole again. She would want us to know that she is setting things straight in heaven, organizing events, cooking for the multitudes…and playing her dulcimer with her best friend Joanne. I am not sure if those are the things that are done in heaven…but I like to think of her doing them just the same. Mostly she is enjoying her life…fully. For that reason I will celebrate. Happy Birthday Louise.

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