It was my birthday on Saturday. Time is flying. I could not believe that it was that time of year again. But, in saying that, just as quickly the day has passed, I am another year older, and it is time to move on to the next birthday/celebration/special event.
Like a lot of things now, my birthday just does not have the same special quality. Patrick's death has affected so many areas in my life, some I did not know he could. It is hard to determine exactly how Patrick's death has affected how I feel towards my birthday, but it has.
The most noticeable difference is that I have no real interest in presents anymore. I do not care about getting stuff. Sure it is nice, do not get me wrong, I appreciate all that I have and all that I am given. However, when asked what I would like, I cannot answer. I do not really want anything apart from Patrick. And as that can never be granted to me, then I do not have an interest in acquiring presents. My desire for material possessions, to have nice things, is all but gone. What does it matter what I have to show when I do not have one of my most sacred 'possessions', my son.
On special occasions I am more aware that there is someone missing. We go out, we have photos taken, we make special memories, and it all makes me more aware that Patrick is not here, that there is someone missing from these occasions. Every happy occasion is shadowed by Patrick's absence. Although I may not show it, the pain of his absence is still there. I am very aware of what a birthday should be like and in order not to confuse the children I act the part that I have been given. I do not want them asking why Mummy is crying on her birthday when a birthday is supposed to be fun and filled with cake and presents.
It is hard. Sometimes, in my moments of analysing myself, I wonder if I actively engage in anything anymore. I act the part I am supposed to - wife, mother, family member, and a member of my community and society. This is it, nothing more and nothing less. I do all I can so people do not look too deeply. I plod along being a grounded and stable person so no one sees me screaming inside at everyone and everything. My birthday brings this screaming to the surface. I push it down and try not to think about it too much. I tell myself, 'be happy Suzanne, smile and talk about presents and cake. Be normal, be normal. Don't cry. You can cry tomorrow when it's not your birthday'. For me, nothing is the same and never will be. But to everyone else, the world has moved on and everything means the same as it did before.
So, happy birthday to me. Only 362 days until I have to go through it all again.