This is the first birthday, the first year that will click over into the year I outlive her. I was holding onto 38 feeling like we had both at least made it that far. When I almost died from bleeding out in the hospital this April, a year and two weeks after she passed, it almost seemed poetic. Maybe we would both find the end of our lines at the same time in the same way.
I did make it though. It wasn’t my time. She didn’t come to me to send me back to the land of the living like she had before, but I knew anyway that I was supposed to stay.
She did come to me clear as day when I lie septic and hurting in the hospital in Seattle in November. “No” was all she said, just inches from my face as I was dropping in and out of consciousness during the life-flight. She was a force. She said it to me in the fierce, loving, combative way she had of speaking when she was being equal parts protective and loving. I always knew she loved me, but when she was so direct in her delivery, like the time she took the spoon out of my hand and told me not to eat raw cookie dough, the depth of her love was unquestionable. It’s a side of her I hope her children someday know.
If I have learned anything these past few months, it is that I must endeavor to love myself the way she loved me. The way so many people love me. She would give me one fierce talking to if she knew I were siting here crying over outliving her on my birthday. She would tell me to get myself together, not to give the moments away. She would roll her eyes at me and tell me to get on with living already. Then she would smile her wry smile and hug me and let me cry until she made a joke and we’d both laugh. When she’d finally release me, I’d notice she would have tears in the corners of her eyes too. She’d play it off cool but let’s be honest, neither of us were ever really that cool.
Oh, to be loved like that in my life. Perhaps that’s already enough.
Give ‘Em Hell