Grief & Loss

Another Birthday, My Friend

Another Birthday, My friend

Another birthday, my friend. That birthday has arrived, and I keep looking at the date on my arm as it comes closer and closer. It is always a difficult reminder. 

Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world, which I find myself constantly walking around in the daytime, and falling in at night. I miss you like hell.

Edna St. Vincent Millay

As I think back over the last year, everything has changed. Losing you is still a difficult thing, and some days are much worse than others. I am not even the same person I was last year. Sometimes I wonder if you would even recognize me anymore. 

The year has changed me

I look at how the last year has changed me, and it has been in such a positive way. I still miss you like crazy and there isn’t a single day that goes by that I don’t think about you and wish I could bring you back. It is difficult to be so happy about the great things that have come to me since I lost you. Like I feel guilty about being happy because those changes wouldn’t have happened without your death. 

My business is growing. I used to wear my paracord bracelet for you, and loved the idea of making them. But the fact I wore it for you was too personal for me to share with anyone else. Now I make them to honor you and sell them. I love sharing that with others now. Making them makes me think about you and I smile as I do it. 

So many goals!

I make those, and now I’ve started selling freeze dried foods on top of writing my blog. I’m also working on cookbooks. I have grown so much, and love that my business is growing right along with me. 

Your death is still the single worst event I’ve ever experienced, and yet so many great things have come out of it. Ignoring the positive things that have happened would be foolish. But it is easy to feel guilty at the same time. Without you dying, my life would not have gone in such a positive direction, and that is something I struggle with at times. 

I found my voice

What I do appreciate is how much my confidence has grown. I have found my voice again, only it is even stronger and better than it used to be. Thinking back I remember a conversation we had once where you asked me what had happened to my voice. I didn’t think much of it at the time. But as time went on, it became more and more obvious that I really had lost my voice. 

Building my business has thrown me completely out of my comfort zone, and I appreciate that. One of my favorite quotes is “life is hard for two reasons: because you’re leaving your comfort zone, or staying in it.” My happier place is leaving my comfort zone now. I once stayed in it and never ventured out. 

I still hear you

I have set brand new goals that would normally terrify me. Now I’m ready to jump on them and make it all happen. You once told me something that has stuck with me from the day you said it. You said, trust Nathan with your feelings. I heard you saying this the day you died too, when I had to go home and tell him about everything that had happened while he was at work.

I still hear you now, when I want to tell him about my goals and dreams, no matter how insane they may seem. At one point, I held all of those things back because I was afraid I would be viewed as crazy or that he (or anyone else) would try to talk me out of them. 

Now I just go at it from the standpoint of, here’s what I want and how I’m going after it. It is pretty obvious how much my confidence has grown, just by how I approach talking about my dreams and goals now. 

Life changes so quickly

It amazes me how quickly life can change. I once heard the comment that we are all one decision away from a completely different life. Which I feel is pretty accurate. Life can change in an instant, and that isn’t always a bad thing. 

I said earlier that I have completely changed and I often wonder if you would recognize me now if you were still alive. Sometimes that makes me sad, but at the same time I know that you are proud of who I have become. I still hear you say that as well. Nathan and L both say the same thing. I guess it must be true. 

Bad relationships go away, good ones stay

My relationships with both of them are stronger than ever. Once you were gone and I ceased relationships with both family and friends, I had a lot more energy to really focus on those two relationships and make them thrive. It was easy to see who would walk through the hell I was facing with me and make sure I came out standing strong. That isn’t something I will ever forget or ignore. 

Losing you showed me exactly who I wanted in my future. I felt guilty for saying goodbye to a fair number of people. But a wise person once said to surround yourself with people who are meant to be part of my future, not my past. This reminded me that I want people who will support my dreams and goals, not try to keep me where I am at. 

Another year has come and gone, and another birthday without you is here. I am as sad as always, but I still have to say thank you for everything you have given me in both life and death. When I met you, I had absolutely no clue how you would change my life and change it completely. 

Happy birthday, my friend. Wherever you are, enjoy your special day, until we meet again to celebrate together. We will meet again in another life and celebrate another birthday, my friend.

10 Comments

  • Despite Pain

    This is such a moving post, Erica. Birthdays of the people we’ve loved and lost can be so difficult. Writing a letter to say what you’re feeling is a good way of coping.

    Your friend would be very proud of you and wouldn’t want you feeling guilty about the positive changes in your life. You deserve to be happy and proud of yourself.

    • Mariam

      I’m very sorry for your loss, Erica. As sad as this post was to read, there is a beauty to it as well. I’m sure your friend is proud of who you’ve become.

  • Scott DeNicola

    Birthdays and anniversaries are constant reminders of those we have lost. It must feel good a certain degree to write an “open letter” like this as a means to clear your mind and heart a bit It’s never easy but your friend would be proud of you for doing everything you have and how you’ve obviously grown. Sorry to read this but happy to hear of your growing success.

  • Britt K

    This is a beautiful tribute. I could feel the love for your friend, a friend that I am sure would be SO proud of where you are today (or, depending on your personal beliefs, is proud of where you are today). It sounds like your business is an incredible way to continue honouring your friend as you move forward.

  • Subhashish Roy

    What you have lost never comes back. But somewhere I believe the person we have lost from our life is never gone. Probably they start meaning more to us. Your friend would be watching every progress you have made and would be so proud of you Erica and so very happy.

  • Nilakshi

    It’s a such wonderful tribute. We actually never loss anyone, everyone’s here it’s just matter of time and shifts. Those who’s work is done here they have to leave the physical presence. Your friend must be proud of you and happy for this great Tribute from a great friend. 💕💕

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