Birthday- You’re Invited
It’s about 12:00am and I’m responding to a message from a friend on Facebook.
As I realize the time, I can’t get the birthday song out of my head. “Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday little Anthony, happy birthday to you.” it keeps chiming in my head. But it’s not the song sung how we usually hear it- it’s just not the same in my head and I definitely don’t feel the same in my heart. My chest is heavy and in my head it almost feels like I’m watching a scary movie, there is terror there, instead of the usual happiness a person sings at a birthday party. But for almost a half hour that song sticks and my visions of a birthday party for a little boy are still there…he’s wearing a birthday hat- the kind we make our kids wear even though they are pointed and silly. He has a gray t-shirt on, I can’t see his face. He is at the head of a table and there are people around, but I can’t identify who because I am trying to focus on the little boy at the end of the table. Streamers, some kind of theme…cake, birthday plates, children running around. I can see it all, over and over for the past half hour. Then I start to realize- this isn’t the birthday song and this isn’t the vision of where my child is on his birthday…maybe I should be singing the song differently. So I start the jingle again. “Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday up in Heaven, happy birthday to you”.
My vision changes. It’s more peaceful now, just white mainly, but I don’t see him. Frozen. Tears. Anger. Peace. Snot dripping down my face. No need for a tissue. Frozen. More tears, quiet cries. Wipe my face with my arm. Why. Sadness. Empty. Wipe my face with my hand. Confusion. Frozen. Chest tightening. Peace again. All I can hear now is “His life, Glory be to God”. 9 days. No birthday. I saw your smile. I held you. I heard your beating heart and your breath. I got 9 beautiful days with you. Sad. Grateful. Memories. Your smile. Your eyes. Every inch of your body. Your hands. Your feet. Your arms. Your legs. Your tiny freckle. Your smile- Your smile. Balling. Holding in the screams. Time to get a tissue. Frozen. What a birthday. Grab the tissue. Thank you for coming to his birthday.
I sit quietly, alone, with your blanket. It’s your birthday- and I can’t see you.
Christen Kladitis, for my son Anthony Christopher on your 3rd birthday.