Birthday

It has been nearly five years that I’ve had to hear about it. Every now and then it would come up and it gave her so much of a thrill to tease me. I’m pretty sure it was less than a week after my 25th birthday that she brought it up for the first time. I’m talking about the birthday party she was planning to throw for me when I turned 30.

January 12. This Wednesday. Sucks again that she’s gone.

I know most of you probably missed many of the parties she threw, but let me tell you how Stephanie puts together a party. Every party has a theme, and that theme envelopes every last detail. For instance, my 25th was a theme of miniatures. (I have an unhealthy obsession with anything that’s miniature.) The cake was tiered simply to accommodate cupcakes. Each cupcake had a circular tag stuck in it depicting something about my life. There were cocktail hot dogs and mini burgers and mini grilled cheese sandwiches and chicken nuggets.

I’ve always loved my birthday and Stephanie has always felt strongly about how special a person feels for his or her birthday (and the entire week). I’ll be excited for my birthday no matter how old I get – age doesn’t bother me. And Stephanie went to every length to make me feel so special. She’s literally had an idea for my 30th birthday since the week following my 25th birthday, and she has casually teased me with that fact over the years. I’m pretty sure the theme has changed a few times, but only because she thought of something better. She would taunt me, “I came up with an even better idea for your 30th birthday. It’s going to be incredible.” Oh, I couldn’t wait! (If only I knew what else 30 years would bring.)

I’ve been anticipating this 1 month for nearly 60 months and yet 3 months shy of it, my wife passed away. I have no problem sharing with you that I yelled at God about that. A lot. It ran through my mind a number of times while I was in the hospital. I’m not going to get to have my birthday party. Obviously, it wasn’t the worst pain of them all, but it certainly didn’t help the situation.

In line with my aversion to change, I’m trying to keep things as close as possible to what they were supposed to be this year. It’s why Thanksgiving was still at my parents’ house as usual. It’s why I had a Christmas tree and other decorations up based on the way Stephanie decorated. And it’s why I asked my mom about still having my party. Thankfully, Stephanie had shared most of her plans with my mom. (For the record, my mom can throw a quite a mean party, as well.) With the help of some friends – one of whom seems to throw similar parties as Stephanie always did – the party will be happening on January 15 with a rather large guest list.

Nonetheless, I expect this week to be possibly the hardest week of my life besides that time in the hospital. I think it goes without saying that I’m not looking forward to it.

I think of Stephanie’s 30th birthday three years ago and how joyous it was. I made sure her brother was in town for it and surprised her with two La-Z-Boys. (She was always manic about rocking in a chair constantly.) We had just had Brady 9 months prior, which was fantastic considering how desperate she was to have kids before she turned 30. It was such a fabulous celebration of her life thus far.

And now it’s my turn to hit 30. I hate to be melodramatic, but who gets stuck celebrating 30 years as a widow? I know I’m not the first and won’t be the last. But I’m one of them. What kind of birthday am I celebrating this year? Right now, I’m hoping that I can just stay 29 forever until my Stephanie is returned to me. I don’t want to turn 30 without her! It wasn’t supposed to happen this way.

26 thoughts on “Birthday”

  1. Brad, even with how far removed I am from your family, I always heard about how great Stephanie was at entertaining/bi​rthday parties. I think no matter how great the party is, your only wish would be that Stephanie was there, and I think everyone will know this. I'm praying for you that this party can be enjoyable and a time of relaxation for you rather than a reminder of the pain it also brings. I think Stephanie would be so happy that you're going to (or try to) celebrate your birthday because she believed it to be so important.

  2. Oh Brad, we feel your pain. Try to look on the bright side that your sweet Stephanie shared her plans with your mom and I’m sure your mom will do her best to carry them out. Your family and friends certainly are a great support to you and will do their best to give you a fantastic party to lift your spirits. Try to be open to that. We wish you a happy birthday in spite of everything that has happened.

  3. Brad, even with how far removed I am from your family, I always heard about how great Stephanie was at entertaining/birthday parties. I think no matter how great the party is, your only wish would be that Stephanie was there, and I think everyone will know this. I'm praying for you that this party can be enjoyable and a time of relaxation for you rather than a reminder of the pain it also brings. I think Stephanie would be so happy that you're going to (or try to) celebrate your birthday because she believed it to be so important.

  4. Brad,

    Happy 30th birthday. I know Stephanie would want to hug you and would be thrilled this week to be throwing you the biggest, most heartfelt party ever. I’m sure with the way God works that your mom and everyone around will wrap you with much birthday love. My daughter’s birtday is tomorrow so its a special day for me too. I know it sucks to say it bluntly and it hurts but God can take that pain and your testimony is truly touching SO MANY. Please keep looking up because I believe with my whole heart that Christ’s return is very soon which means she will be in your arms sooner than you think. When I’m feeling so terribly down about life and bad things that have happenned alot of times I will just sit and pray quietly listening to His Spirit speak to me and reading His word that will communicate to you His love and care for you. Music seems to be the way that He speaks to me.

    Have a wonderful birthday,
    Amanda

  5. Happy Birlthday Brad. I believe Stephanie is having a pillow fight in heaven in celebration of your day and all the little pillow dust is falling to earth, making this beautiful winter wonderland. A quote from a movie that you are probably too young to remember comes to mind: "How lucky I am to have know someone whom saying "goodbye" to was so damn hard". Hugs and blessings to you today.

  6. Happy 30th birthday Brad. I hope your Mom creates the birthday celebration that captures all that Stephanie had planned. Be reminded of the love you and Stephanie share and prayerfully that will bring you peace today. God is holding you in his arms. Read the" Footprint"poem…."It's then that I carried you"

  7. Happy Birlthday Brad. I believe Stephanie is having a pillow fight in heaven in celebration of your day and all the little pillow dust is falling to earth, making this beautiful winter wonderland. A quote from a movie that you are probably too young to remember comes to mind: "How lucky I am to have know someone whom saying "goodbye" to was so damn hard". Hugs and blessings to you today.

  8. Oh Brad;

    I can only imagine all the plans Stephanie had to make your 30th what it should be a celbration. Im thrilled someone else will be able to put it together for you and Thankfully she had shared some of the ideas with that person. however, I can feel the void that will be there because She won’t be able to be ther except for in spirit.

    You are right it seems to stink that you are 30 and a widow…..sometimes all we can say is what??????? It seems to scream of unfairness yet what is fair????

    I know you will do the same with this situation as you have with holidays, and other situations and that is that you will find the silver linning then you will blog about it I can’t wait…….

    I pray God gives you the strength and wisdom and Grace….. He has been great so far and he will continue to be……

    1. I really appreciate your anticipation of my upcoming posts about how things have gone or are going. I’m sure there will be some God-happiness for me to blog about, and I sure will. I think you for your anticipation.

  9. Brad
    Dean and I want to wish you a happy birthday today. We have been praying for you this week. We hope you feel His presence, along with Stephanie’s, today and at your party. May you feel a supernatural peace and joy from up above. You are loved and it is a special day celebrating you..a great husband, father and friend.

  10. Happy Birthday, Brad. As you blow out the candles on your cake, my wish for you is for peace, joy, and love to fill your heart. May God bless you and you family.

  11. Thanks for sharing this, Brad. It was hard to read, but parts also brought smiles. Y’know, the bday party will both suck and be great at the same time. It’s a dichotomy that I think will turn out to be more positive than negative. If there’s times you get overwhelmed, lock yourself in a room for a few minutes and pray, cry, and shake your fists. You’re gonna get through it, and I think you’re going to feel a lot of love that day. You don’t have to pretend that day to feel anything other than what you do. But I really really feel that it’s going to be good.

  12. I am a friend of a friend of two people following the same path – you and another dear soul who was from our area… She had an entry in her blog that really was laid upon me to share with you. It reminds me of how you’re feeling and have felt and it must be so important to know that it’s all right to be feeling that way and also to know that you’re not alone! It’s here: http://teachingtuckandty.blogspot.com/2011/01/poison-ivy.html
    Happy Birthday…

    1. Thank you for the reference to Tricia’s blog. I found out about her situation the day or day after it happened and have been following along and praying. I hate, hate, hate, hate, HATE that anyone else has to endure this. I want nothing more than to take my pain and my sorrow and all that I’ve gone through, put it before the Lord and say, “Let this be enough. Let me be the last. Let all the pain possible fall on me so that no one else has to endure this.” Sadly, I know that won’t happen, so I hope to be there for those people as much as possible.

  13. Another heart wrentching story. Lord, I pray that you bring Peace to both of these familes and any other family going through a tragedy

Leave a Reply