As I mentioned before, my birthday was a few days ago. For years now, my birthday has been largely the same routine, at least in so far as the morning goes: I wake up at about 630 and shower. My father calls me at 7am and sings Happy Birthday to me, badly. I talk to him a few minutes, and then play Stevie Wonder's "Happy Birthday", loudly. Then I go on with my day. It's a wonderful, silly, happy way to start the day. I once asked my dad why he called so early in the morning. He told me he liked to set the tone for my whole day, and so he had to get his call in before I'd even spoken to anyone else. This year, I woke up and showered at 630, but there was no phone call at 7. I knew there would be no phone call at 7 because I'd buried my father only three days before.
He had some kind of episode just before Christmas and was non-responsive for a couple of days while they did testing. Then he had another episode (the doctors never called it a stroke, but it probably was) and was again non-responsive. He passed away peacefully on the 28th. My older brother, RD, was at the hospital. My younger brother, BC, was in Michigan working, and I was at home, with a cold. BC called me and said that dad had no pulse. I knew what that meant, because the decision to not resuscitate had already been made, but I think he was as reluctant to make that final statement as I was to hear it. So I told him to keep me posted and relayed the information to GF, who said my family was weird. "Why?" "Because you don't know, for sure, if your dad is dead or alive right now." Which was entirely fair, I suppose.
Anywho, GF and I packed the car, put NA into his car seat, and drove down to Florida for the funeral. While the occasion was not ideal (and I'm sad that my dad didn't get to meet my baby boy), everyone did get to love on the babies (BC and his wife have a daughter three weeks younger than NA, in addition to their two year old son). At one point, RD was holding NA and they made eye contact. NA smiled hugely and leaned into RD's shoulder, as if to hug him. In the limo, on our way to the cemetery, the babies started talking to each other and smiling and holding hands. It was adorable. Babies are a wonderful distraction, and I couldn't help but think how much joy they would have brought my dad, as they are his legacy in a way.
So my birthday this year was not so grand, at least in the beginning. It got better as the day went on, both because I can't stay sad with NA around and because I was overwhelmed by warm fuzzy loving wishes. By the next day, I was feeling much better and ready to face my new routine. Because life goes on.