Today is my step dad's birthday. He would have been 69. It's so weird to think about that number - almost 70 - because 70 seems so much older than I imagine he would have seemed today.
I hate to go to that place - the would have beens. But, I imagine if he were with us today, it would be a calm day. My mom would go to work, so he'd be home (since he retired a few months before he died), probably relaxing, maybe golfing? We probably would've had a family dinner this past weekend when I was home, with cake, drinks, Yahtzee, etc. And maybe tonight Suzanne would go over to their house again for an official birthday day dinner? It wouldn't be overdone - and he'd think it was all perfect.
I like the imagined scenario better than reality, though. My mom, lonely today, but unwilling to show her loneliness to anyone. My sister, sad and still somewhat angry - going through worse would have beens than me (What if he would've left the house five minutes earlier? What if he would've driven his bigger car instead? What if the woman who hit him had been going the speed limit? What if he could have swerved out of the way?).
But I try not to go to that place too often. Instead, I'll resort to a contemplative blog post. Because I don't think he would've wanted all the anger and sadness surrounding his death. He would have said that it was his time and we shouldn't ever question that. And I don't really question it. And at times, actually, I'm content in the quickness of it - it wasn't like getting older & older, and having your mind remain in tact while your body fails you; and it wasn't like cancer, spending months/years fighting it, only to have it win in the end. We didn't have to watch him slowly die. We also, though, didn't get to say goodbye in the way would would've liked.
I wish I could remember his last birthday alive - 66, I guess. I know my cousin got married around this time, so we would've gone on a trip to the wedding. And I know he retired around this time, so I was in St. Louis for his retirement party. But I don't remember the birthday, exactly. But that's probably because it was as understated as I imagine his birthday this year would have been. Just as he liked it.
Happy birthday, Big J - thinking about you today.