Dearest Rachel –
Were you still here, this wouldn’t have happened, of course. I would have made preparations beforehand. I’d have checked with you as to what you would have wanted – and had it in hand to set on your nightstand when you awoke, along with a card (assuming it was something that would fit there – some years, that wasn’t entirely feasible, of course).
I wouldn’t have sung you awake, to be sure – Daniel’s aversion to that particular song has made me wary of it, just like your reaction to cucumbers has caused me to bite into various sushi rolls and think “there’s something off about this thing… what it is?” before realizing what it contains. Indeed, like most mornings, I would let you wake of your own accord – all the more time to get everything together for you when you did wake up.
Most of what I would write to you in your card would likely have to do with my gratitude for letting me be with you to celebrate these occasions – indeed, the sentiments were not unlike those from any other holiday, such as Christmas or our anniversary. Because you were a gift that kept on giving – both to me, and everyone around you.
I wish you hadn’t had to be recalled so soon.
Of course, I had a mnemonic to help me remember your birthday; it was based on the fact that it was a transposition of Tax Day – 5/14 as opposed to 4/15, you see. Yes, as much as I hate to admit it, there’s still so much accountant in me. Unfortunately, that mnemonic would still occasionally trip me up, as sometimes I would think in terms of a month after Tax Day, or 5/15 – which would put me at a day late. If I hadn’t already been trying to make plans – and therefore having to ask your advice as to what you might want for your day, because you would want what you would want – I might have gotten into a number of years worth of trouble.
These days, you aren’t around to ask, and there’s little point in my making preparations for you, so the day almost went unnoticed. That, and I’m having to deal with things both that used to be yours to handle – like preparations for the anime convention, or our trip to Kevin’s at the end of this month – or that we never dealt with before, like all the construction going on here at the house. Mike has also assisted me in keeping my mind otherwise occupied, having scheduled me in the booth this weekend, just like he’s done for my own birthday and the anniversary of the accident. That may sound like a complaint – and I’m pretty sure it’s not deliberate on his part – but it works for me. And I did accept his requests of my own accord, after all. So there is something of a intentional nature to my forgetfulness, as well. I hope you don’t mind my attempts to do so.
But it’s not as if fate would ever allow me to completely forget. At some point, I would observe the calendar, and remember the significance of this day; even the fact that I know that I’m in the booth almost specifically to keep my mind otherwise occupied would be enough to allow me to recall the fact that this is supposed to have been your fifty-second birthday. I suspect there will be those who, well-meaning as they are, would make an effort to extend an extra measure of best wishes to me on a day like today, knowing its importance to me and you, and concluding that it therefore would be particularly painful to me to let it go without comment.
In fact, it was cousin Doris that reminded me yesterday of this situation, since Dennis – who I’m sure must have greeted you with surprise, wondering why it was you showing up there and not his cousin, my dad – would have celebrated his birthday then. I’ll be honest, I hadn’t recalled that fact before, but I suspect I’m not going to forget that going forward. Some of us need to deal with the day, it seems, and some of us deal with it by trying to put it behind us. I don’t know how else to put it.
I could go on, and talk about what we used to do to celebrate your birthday from year to year, but what would be the point? You aren’t here to celebrate with us, and I haven’t gotten you anything as a gift (because what, at this point, could you want or need? Not that anything I might find would survive the trip from me to you, even if it were possible). Daniel doesn’t even go to our favorite restaurant anymore – he tells me that he’s waiting for something, but what that is, I don’t know. I’m not even sure that it matters to you that it’s your birthday, or whether I’ve remembered it. Is that sort of thing even kept track of in heaven?
Still, you ought to know that I’m thinking about you, on this day and every day.
Happy Birthday, honey. I’ll catch you up later.