The other day would have been my Grandpa’s 99th birthday. This is the first of his birthdays that we’ve observed without him physically being present. For many years, we’ve gathered on his birthday and headed out to the restaurant of his choice. Every year since his 90th birthday bash, he would comment that he wasn’t sure how many more of these birthday parties he would come to…
He has been a big part of my life and my family’s life.
The morning of her Great-Grandpa's birthday, I came to the table to find our daughter busy with markers and paper to create a birthday card. And then with her creativity and leadership shining brightly, she organized us all to create a card and collection of birthday wishes.
I sent a photo of the card to my family through our family chat. A conversation grew about all the birthday celebrations we had shared together and then a wonder about getting together to observe Grandpa’s birthday in his honour.
While we were together we laughed about Grandpa’s likely meal choice (steak!) and remembered the ways that his life impacted all of our lives. Maybe we’ll meet yearly to celebrate. Maybe the ways that we live and love and grieve will change as the years pass.
Every relationship is so different. Every process of grief so different.
How have you honoured the birthdays of people you care about who have died?
How have you cared for yourself on significant days that remind you of the change in your relationship with important people?