Updated: Dec 3, 2020
I’m not sure how to wish my husband Happy Birthday. There is nothing HAPPY about this Birthday. A 50th birthday is supposed to be a milestone celebration. A celebration of all that you have achieved and contributed over the past 50 years.
How do I say “May the next 50 years of your life be as fabulous as the first 50”? No achievement in the last 50 years compares to what we have lost this year. We are both ready to give up everything to turn back time and have Lilly with us. We are both empty shells going through the motions of trying to piece a family back together. We are ALL in the midst of grief.
I know what you’re thinking: Lilly would want you to celebrate, Lilly is at peace, Lilly is smiling down on you. I don’t find solace in any of this. Lilly was supposed to be here, Lilly was supposed to celebrate her father‘s 50th! We had plans. Now, all we are left with are her memories.
Our family patterns have shut down. We are all navigating through this new phase of ‘normal’. As others’ lives continue exactly as before, our life continues as fragmented slivers of what we had known before. I do not see a clear way to celebrate this milestone in our new ‘normal’.
That being said, I’d like to share this poem on the occasion of my Husband’s Birthday. I can just imagine Lilly saying these exact words, with her impish smile, loving eyes, soft voice, and gentle expressions.
Death is nothing at all.
It does not count.
I have only slipped away into the next room.
Nothing has happened.
Everything remains exactly as it was.
I am I, and you are you,
and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged.
Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.
Call me by the old familiar name.
Speak of me in the easy way which you always used.
Put no difference into your tone.
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was.
Let it be spoken without an effort, without the ghost of a shadow upon it.
Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same as it ever was.
There is absolute and unbroken continuity.
What is this death but a negligible accident?
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am but waiting for you, for an interval,
somewhere very near,
just round the corner.
All is well.
Nothing is hurt; nothing is lost.
One brief moment and all will be as it was before.
How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!
By Henry-Scott Holland
Happy Birthday Papa ❤️