A Letter Sent To An Impossible Destination

You would have turned 40 today.

I think back to what it felt like when I turned 40. Aging is not something I fear, nor am I bothered by the idea of growing older or embracing the coiling silver hairs that sprout from my head like tinsel. (Even the spastic one that looks like a pube growing out of my right temple. What the shit is that about?)

Still, that 40th birthday was the hardest one I’ve ever had. And that’s saying something if you recall the Trifecta Of Suck that was my 36th birthday… a day that began with a funeral, had a midday intermission where K lost his job, and concluded with the death of his father, all during a span of about 10 hours’ time. Granted, that last part wasn’t a terrible thing, but still. That was one hell of a birthday ride.

For me, 40 was a birthday I didn’t want to have. You know I don’t like acknowledging my birthday to begin with because it’s just a day. Yeah, it was the day our mother graced the entire world with my presence and I think we can all agree on what a glorious day it was, but… for most people, it was a day like any other day. They don’t really care about it, one way or another.

Forty was difficult because of you. (Privilege check: I get to blame you for everything. It’s in the Older Sister Contract, section B, article II. Look it up.)

Forty was the first birthday I had following your death and I wrestled, hourly and for weeks and possibly months, with the idea that I would have a 40th birthday and you never would. Basically, I refused to turn 40 and I made the decision to be 39 forever.

By the time I reached 39 plus two, the pain had lessened considerably. I’m pretty sure I ate cake. It was probably an ice cream cake that my lactose intolerance made me regret hours later. I’m a glutton for punishment and secretly enjoy farting at my unsuspecting family.

When I reached 39 plus three last month, I didn’t eat cake. I didn’t do much of anything, now that I think about it. It was a Wednesday so I probably did some midweek laundry.

You would have turned 40 today.

I don’t know if it was the fact that I had a busy day at work today or that I’ve finally reconciled and made peace with the reality that you’re gone (I don’t believe I have), but today was easier than I thought it would be. Maybe I spent these past few weeks mentally preparing myself for some sort of existential breakdown only to have one not happen. Kinda like when you get all worked up over an impending stressful event and then it arrives and you realize it wasn’t the flaming soul-eating hellscape you envisioned in your mind, and then you’re left thinking, “Well. This was not what I was expecting but ‘plop-plop-fizz-fizz,’ oh, what a relief it is.”

It’s a bittersweet relief. I’m still an unholy wreck when I think about you at times, but those moments are fewer and farther between. Maybe this is what peace feels like. Or maybe one just gets acclimated to stepping around big holes where people used to be.

I miss you. You were a pain in my ass, as I often was in yours. And I know… I know we made the right decision in letting you go. It is what you would have wanted, being the stubborn pain in the ass that you were. You would have been pissed off until the end of time if we had chosen otherwise, assuming it was even possible to save what little of you remained tethered here. We knew you were gone and it was the right thing to do. Yeah, yeah… you can stop telling me you told me so.

I almost bought a cake to bring to mom’s today after work, but I had like nine bucks in my checking account and figured it was the universe’s way of telling me it was a bad idea. The universe was probably right, anyway. Mostly, I was just hungry. I forgot I had already eaten the ham and cheese Hot Pocket™ I had stored in the office freezer last week. Today’s scant lunch was a grave miscalculation on my part.

Cake or no cake, rest assured that I will never forget your birthday. I’ll never forget your deathday, either – (Thanksgiving is ruined forever; thanks for that, jerk face) – but we are doing okay.

Happy birthday, wherever you are.

All my love,


2 Responses to “A Letter Sent To An Impossible Destination”
  1. Jolyn Bush says:

    omg I absolutely love this. It’s strange, I felt the same difference. What’s even crazier is I had this strange desire for birthday cake allll day (really didn’t have cash for either).

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