As I headed into 2014 and I crossed over the year mark of Dave's death, I heard many a person tell me that the second year is harder than the first. It's so strange to me that people actually say this out loud. It's like when you are three days from your due date and people feel like that it is a perfect time to tell you that they lost 600 pints of blood during their delivery and their child was born with three legs. I don't get it? However, now that I think about it, maybe I should be grateful for such stories and words of warning, because they set me up to believe the worst. In my very personal experience, I think the first year was the hardest. It is not to say that I have closed up my tear ducts to all things Dave, but life has a rhythm now. Of course, that rhythm is about to be upset by the impending end of school, but that is for another post.
Any landmark date causes me to compare this year to last year. Dave's birthday recently passed and it was one of those comparison dates. Last year, we had a big celebration and a giant race and the whole time I was feeling my way through it all, minute by minute. It was a great weekend and an excruciating weekend, last year. . . I think. I think I remember it??? Or maybe I just know it from pictures. This year, it was a simple and special celebration with just my little family.
When the kids woke up on April 22, I told them that it was Daddy's birthday and that we get to celebrate after school. They didn't have a mix of emotion, as far as I know. They were just excited to celebrate. So, after school we traced the steps of the path we used to walk frequently when Dave was still alive. First, the Manitou Penny Arcade and then to Dave's favorite little stop in Manitou - The Colorado Custard Company. Then I fixed Dave's favorite dinner and we wrote messages on helium balloons to send off, after a round of Happy Birthday to You.
The most difficult part of the day for me was choking back tears when the kids were dictating their messages to their Daddy. I really wanted to maintain the the focus of celebrating Dave's life, though. I figured we can lament his absence any day, but his birthday gives us a unique opportunity to celebrate him and share Dave stories one after another.
I love, love, love, that Leah feels known by Dave and that she seems to treasure that he took care of her. Sometimes, I talk about when they were babies and how Dave was so much better at bathing and changing their diapers when they were itty bitty, than I was. So, I wonder if that is why she said that about how she was glad that he got to take care of her. Who knows, but it is sweet.
Charlies's message: "Yo Dave, Miss you. Charlie."
I think Charlie's message pretty much sums up how our little family feels. We just still miss him.