Today begins the last year of my forties. It is my birthday. My fifth birthday without Michael. I cannot believe so much time has past. Even with the passage of time, my birthday today feels somewhat vague, lonely, and contemplative. Maybe its because my close friend Nanette spent my last two birthdays in New York with me and today there are no house guests. Maybe its because so much has changed even since that first birthday without him. Maybe its because the house is so quiet. Birthdays were once an early morning of energy, family time and celebration of life over a big breakfast in the breakfast room with the kids as excited as if it were their own birthday. Today Mia is off at college near Boston(graduating in May), Michael Anthony is still asleep, and Julia is quietly and happily buzzing around. She first brought me coffee in bed (along with a beautiful endearing letter she had written), then warm waffles, then a gift. I sit in my quiet bedroom looking out my sliding glass doors and spot a large doe staring at me. She slowly turns and walks across our property through the melting snow.
Yes, this birthday is different. Each birthday is more and more different. But that is life. We grow, we change, life changes, kids leave the nest, and the more and more we move forward, the more we also leave behind. I am thankful that the more I move forward, the more darkness and pain is left behind. I am thankful to draw nearer to God with each day that passes. I am thankful for the friends that God has placed in my life along the journey each day - at the exact time and place that I need them.
I choose to be happy today. I love my life in spite of the trials. I love my God in spite of the trials. I love my life, my children, and my God more because of the trials. As John Eldredge says, and I have quoted before, "A healed heart is more glorious than a heart that has never been wounded at all." Today is and will be glorious. My heart feels glorious....Happy Birthday to me.
My blog post on my birthday just 4 weeks after Michael died. http://jenebarranco.blogspot.com/2011/03/first-birthday.html