Tuesday, January 15, 2013

An odd kind of celebration

Picnic (Photo credit: Carlos López Molina)

When Greg died, I had just printed out invitations to my 40th birthday party which was supposed to be held 31 days later .... but wasn't.... for obvious reasons. 

I am not a person who likes to host parties.  I think the last birthday party I helped organise for myself was my 30th birthday when we lived in a small country town and all but one of the party-goers walked to out house. 

This time, we had booked a few tables at a local restaurant that overlooked the bay and had a dance floor and live band. I had bought an outfit and was getting excited to see all my friends.

... I still got to wear that outfit and see all my friends though. 
Just not for my party. 
There was no dancing. 
Instead, there were lots of tears. 

Anyway, my 50th is still over 7 years away and I am thinking I still need to finally have that party that I didn't get to have .... but not for me.

 ...This coming February, Greg SHOULD have turned 50. 
It seems such a surprise to say that number in the same breath as his name.  He always looked and acted much younger than his age.  He was such a fit, vibrant, adventurous, funny soul and he loved a good party. 

I don't want to replicate the wake where nobody could meet my eyes ... when they rose from the floor that is.  Where everyone spoke softly and drank cups of tea.  Where the world had turned slightly foggy and surreal and I was there without really being there.

I want to have a party that celebrates the bloke that he was.  I want his old friends to come and I want the stories to flow.  I want the kids to meet some of his old friends and hear what an amazing Dad they had.

At the moment, I am leaning towards a general invitation for friends and family to meet us down at the beach for fish and chips - something we used to do as a family.
Come as you are.
BYO folding chairs, kite and frisbee.

Just like he used to love doing.

Maybe I am odd for wanting to mark a birthday for someone who can't be there. 
Maybe this will seem inappropriate to some people.
Maybe I am asking for the grief monster to rear its ugly head and smack me back down.
But maybe I am onto something that will help us all.

I don't really know.
But it feels right to me.

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  1. That sounds like an excellent idea, Amanda - it is a reminder that although Greg is not here in body, his life goes on with you and your children as well as his extended family and friends.

  2. This past September, I did the same thing to mark my husband's birthday. Family was all excited. We had a potluck of his favorite foods. You know, it was the cinnamon bears and green olives, his favorite snacks, that reminded me we all remember different things about the great man that he was, but we still miss him dearly. It was an honor of his life, but a fun way to share our memories of him. It didn't seem weird until afterwards when someone would ask, "what did you do over the weekend?". But oh well, there's mch about grief that is weird!

  3. Amanda, I think it is a great idea. Since my husband passed away, we have had 3 of his bdays without him and have made that day special in various ways. As you said, it is a day to remember Greg and everything he was as a husband, father and all his other roles. Go for it! It will be wonderful despite the many visits from that sucky Mr. Grief!!!! Hugs!!!

  4. We have to do what makes us feel better. It sounds like a great idea!


  5. Amanda, I believe that you need to do what feels right for you and your children as you remember Greg. "Celebrate" and be "Blessed" surrounded by those who loved Greg and continue to "Love Him" through you and your children. Many blessings to you and yours.

  6. Go for it, Amanda. We did that on the first year date of Jim's death. It was a party to have fun at and to share fun and funny memories. It was great. A woman in my Circle did the same thing (her husband died a month after mine). She hired a band and everyone danced and sang and remembered a great guy.
    So again .... go for it.

  7. These special dates are so monumental when we are "without". There is such a drive in me as a widow that my Marty is not forgotten. Plus, it helps me to be with others on one of those special dates where I can talk freely about him and so can others - I love that! We have done a few creative things to remember Marty. This last birthday (only his 2nd one not on earth) I bought Happy Birthday balloons to decorate the backyard and invited his brothers, my mom and of course my adult kids over for a bbq.
    When everyone had left, I did my own informal balloon release and let the two Happy Birthday balloons go into the heavens for my beloved to receive.....it felt right.

  8. It sounds wonderful. Trust your intuition. This Christmas, the first since my husband died, everyone encouraged me to make plans, visit family. In my heart, I knew I wanted to spend Christmas alone...with the memories of my husband. I bought the latest release of his favorite video game and played it all day, it's what he would have done, and it felt right.

  9. We don't "celebrate" his death date, we do celebrate his birthday. After three years of this, it's actually kind of fun and gives the kids and I an excuse to stay home, watch movies and just hang out cause "Dad would have wanted it that way!"

    1. We also don't "celebrate" the day he died. We celebrate the man and his life.

  10. I totally understand why you want to have a party for someone who isn't there. Mjay already put my thoughts into words so beautifully. I would want to honor my husband and his very special life. I also want to sit with our friends and tell stories about him and speak his name and hear it spoken again...and again...and again...and again. I want to express all of my love for him and bathe is the love the others have for him. I don't want him to be forgotten.
    It feels right to me, too, Amanda. I hope it goes well!

  11. Really beautiful! Have a wonderful time!!
    Maria #2