For weeks after Howard’s death, I knew how many hours I’d been without him.  For months, I could tell you the exact number of days.  For years, I referred to his death the way the parents of small children refer to their ages, in months and not years.  And that made sense, as the amount of change contained in such a period of 12 months is far more intense than in a “normal” year, whatever “normal” may be.

This morning is Howard’s birthday.

I laid in bed for a few minutes this morning, and did not know how many hours, days, or months I’d been without him.  Seven years, I thought.  Does that really mean that Howard would be 27 today?  I tried to do the math in my head, clumsily subtracting 1984 from 2011 sans calculator, which, if you know me, you know was difficult for me in more ways than one.

I determined that it was, indeed, Howard’s 27th birthday, and wallowed in the sheets for a moment, letting tears slide across my face.

And while most of the tears were for Howard, some of the tears were for myself, that I no longer knew the hours, days, months, or his age.  There is some joy in not knowing, but there is fear, too.

Fear of not honoring his memory properly, of not making him part of Maggie’s life, of not celebrating his joie de vivre, his enthusiasm, and his easy love for others.


And so this morning, I am thinking of Howard on his 27th birthday.  Oh, how I wonder who you’d be today.

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