June 8, 2009

It's My Party and I'll Cry If I Want To

I feel like I rode the emotional roller coaster all weekend and now I have carnival heart. It is all jumbled with happiness, sadness and grief…all at once.  I went to a funeral for a friend who died at 47 from stomach cancer. She was a beautiful person and a mother of 2 teenagers. Her service was attended by hundreds of people who loved her dearly and cherished her passion and beauty and honesty.

Because it was my birthday weekend, I was both saddened by the loss of her and filled with gratitude that I have been blessed with another day. Right after the funeral, my husband whisked me out to dinner to celebrate my birthday. We went by ourselves and had a beautiful dinner that in no way involved pizza or crayons and ridiculous attempts to entertain a 3 year old while waiting for food that will be shoveled at an alarming rate.


I had to shift from grief to joy in the car on the way to the restaurant.


On Sunday evening, I was to have dinner with my sister Emily. She picked me up and said she forgot the gift certificate at home, so we went back to her house where I was surprised with a little party that my husband planned. I was surprised by the party, but also surprised that besides me and my sister, there were three other people there.


Don’t get me wrong, I am thrilled to have 3 good friends and feel like that is enough to last a life time, but, still, it was hard to ignore that there was food and drinks for more than 5 people. My husband planned a party like we used to have before Katrina. Before that STUPID FUCKING HURRICANE (oh, excuse me!) we used to have a core group of about 15 people who were regulars at every party, every function and every step of our lives.


These people were our friends that we shared holidays with and they were at our wedding…we saw them every Sunday night for maybe 10 years. And then the storm hit. And most of them were forced to move because they lost their jobs or their houses. Or, some of them just broke under the crushing weight of sadness. And they left. And I don’t blame them, I just miss them.


Again, I was flooded with both gratitude and sadness all at once. It was a beautiful gesture on my husband’s part and he is, without a doubt, the kindest and most caring person in my world. I have never, in all my years with him, felt anything but pure love and acceptance from him.


After an hour or so of hanging with the girls at the party and chowing down on the food, Mike and Max came back to the party for the cake. Everyone sang Happy Birthday and Max helped blow out the candles and we all ate big slices of chocolate doberge cake. It was the first time I have had sugar in 4 months.


Between the sugar, the vast swaying of emotions and missing the people who are no longer in my life, I am a mess, a crying mess. And that is ok. This is my reality and it is not always rosy and neat. Life is messy and life is hard. But it is life and I am grateful for it…all 40 years and counting of it.


Laura Ferry-Jimenez said...

so glad you had a good time but I know exactly what you mean. since katrina, none of my bdays have included dancing into the wee hours - all of my dancing buddies are gone. what can you do? just sucks.

on a brighter note, I really need to stop bragging about your husband before someone thinks I'm some type of soon-to-be-home-wrecker! haha. just such a sweet gesture.

you are blessed!

bybethstudio said...

I love you Claire!