Tuesday, February 28, 2017


Do you know what a "Golden" Birthday is? I didn't, until Jack and Margaret told me. It's the special birthday when your age and the day you were born match up. So my golden birthday would have been when I turned 6 on the 6th of October, way back in 1975.

Not that I would have known that.

Golden birthdays, half birthdays and the like were not celebrated in the 70's and 80's when I grew up. I was lucky to have my mom toss creamsicles to my friends and me on the front lawn after school on my birthday. That was our idea of whooping it up.

It was fun to consider that both of my kids' Golden Birthdays would take place when they were teenagers, because they were born on the 18th and 17th, respectively. I LOVE TEENAGERS, most likely because my mom loved teenagers, and getting a kick out of Jack and Margaret at that age is something I'd anticipated since the days they were born.

As the calendar turns from February to March, we are just a couple of weeks away from Jack's Golden Birthday. He would be turning 18 on March 18th. 18 feels significant. 18 feels heavy. It's also on a Saturday again, which Jack would have LOVED. He found birthdays on school days a drag.

Grievers approach birthdays differently, from making our loved one's favorite meals, baking special cakes, running in races, gathering with friends, or even hiding under the covers. I've done a variety of these since Jack died.  Last year was really hard. We are not sure what we will do this year, but I know 18 feels big, golden birthday or not.

Two weeks after that, we'll celebrate Andrew's 1st birthday. In the age of Pinterest, I wonder how his birthday will differ from the simple celebrations we had when Jack and Margaret were little. We'll see.


As my mother used to say, "Life is a very strange time."

I didn't know what that meant, but I figured I'd know it when I saw it. Now I see it. Life is a very strange time. Sometimes it's hard. Sometimes it's golden. Sometimes it's both at once.


Angie said...

Bittersweet. That's all I can say. Last year would have been our son's 21st birthday. (He died at age 16.) We, too, have done each year differently. This is what we did last year for his 21st: http://awindowintogrief.blogspot.com/2016/04/matts-21st-birthday.html

At times, I still can't believe we survive the loss of a child. However, I truly believe it's the honesty of those who grieve that allows for moving forward after loss. Thank you for writing honestly. Much love and ((hugs))

Maria The Mum said...

You, Anna, are a brave and beautiful woman
And your mother...I feel like I would have wanted to hang out with her
The losses I've suffered are different from yours...mine never saw 18 nor even 1
But loss is loss and has indeed made a strange and wonderfully golden life for me
Thanks for the reminder

Unknown said...

A new beginning. 18. 1. Andrew gets to celebrate Jack's birthday this year. God's special blessings unfold.💕

Karen L. said...

Golden indeed. I like the way you think and the way you draw out what we who have grieved greatly think, too. Blessings on these birthdays, both "Golden" in their respective ways.

Jenny Hart Boren said...

There is another 'special year'--when the year you were born equals the age you are (for me, I was born in '57, so 57 was my special year.) For most of us, our "golden year" came and went when we were too young to notice. I turned 18 on the 18th, so...ancient history.

purejoy said...

Beautiful, Anna, and yes. Life is strange. And crazy. And hard. And terrifically awesome. Look at what a work the Lord is doing in and through you. Thank you for sharing your life with us. I know I am only me, but I feel like I can say with confidence that we are all thankful for your willingness to be open and vulnerable.

My brother celebrated his golden 13th birthday on Friday the 13th in March of 1958. He got his picture published in the newspaper.

Deborah said...

I'll be thinking about you on the 18th. I didn't know about golden birthdays until the year after my Ryan turned 29 on the 29th. Another tradition I feel he got "cheated" out of. Losing him just a few short years later, I think about all the "what he missed" while I rejoice in what he has in heaven now. Somedays I rejoice better than others. So far birthdays have been hard for me. I hope one day I can celebrate on his birthday the years I had with him and not dwell on the years I'm missing. You are a true inspiration to me. Thank you.

mayhem said...

this is what glennon melton calls "Brutiful" - beautiful and brutal, all at once. much love to you and your family on jack's upcoming anniversary.

Paula Scott Bicknell said...

Praying for you on the 18th, Anna. After losing our Anna, my beautiful niece, I have discovered all our birthdays are hard because Anna is no longer a part of our celebrations. This seems to be getting somewhat easier with time, but it's always there. Her empty space among the cousins. Every holiday, every family gathering is like this. I think everyone who has ever lost a child understands this empty space. Praying God fills your empty space with his Presence this year for you on Jack's birthday. Thanks for always being vulnerable with us. Sending you a hug.

Debby@Just Breathe said...

Holding you close in my heart. ((Hugs))

Dawn said...

We will all send Jack birthday wishes on his 18th. And hugs to you and your entire family.

Ellen aka Ellie said...


It's about time I came over here to read your post(s). I'm sorry I don't have the time I used to have to do so.

I think of you everyday. I think of Jack more. But I lost track of time. I have that luxury.


Anonymous said...

I read a Man Called Ove; while I found it somewhat predictable, I did love it!