I have a hard time typing that. The words "would have" just don't sit well with me. As I pause and think through it (and thanks for participating in my stream of thought) I realize it's because I know his soul lives on. So the past tense tone of "would have" doesn't seem to fit. His body would have turned 35, but to me, the soul is ageless. So I guess I'll rephrase it to: Yesterday was Brandon's 35th birthday and his second birthday in Heaven, and I'll leave it at that.
Anyhow, I like to celebrate his life on his birthday. Take time to gather, remember, and honor the man who touched so many in such a short time.
I spent most of the day in bed recovering from a camping trip over the weekend (thank you Lupus), but it gave me time to reflect, which is time typically hard to find these days. As I picked Aria up from the babysitter and drove up Mount Lindo I listened to my special playlist that helps me to lean into my grief. Sometimes the ability to compartmentalize is as difficult as it is beneficial.
I let the words of songs of loss sink deep into my heart and allowed myself to open that compartment and just feel. I don't tend run from the feelings of my loss, I feel them for what they are and I let them serve their purpose. They remind me of a life I am grateful I got to live and of a person I was blessed to have. Then I put them back in their box until I need to go fetch them again, or until they find their way out on their own, released by an unexpected event or just because they needed to be felt. I can't explain it much better then that, but it's how I've been able to cope and survive this and be who I need to be for Aria.
Our first activity planned for Brandon's annual celebration of life was to gather at the grave and release balloons to Heaven. I had done everything I could to have his headstone (that took me a year and a half to be able to order) be placed by his birthday, but unfortunately it just didn't happen. Hopefully it will be done soon - I'm anxious to see it.
|Only half the room at dinner|
Next we headed to Fox Hollow Golf Course, one of Brandon's most frequented driving ranges. We met even more friends there to hit a few buckets of balls in his honor before heading in to The Den, Fox Hollow's restaurant, for dinner. One of the items on the menu was a brisket burger that I know Brandon would have loved. It was a burger topped with brisket, bacon and cheese. Oh. My. Yumminess. Seriously, if you are in the Lakewood area - you should go get this in your mouth.
Memories, laughter and tears were shared and we were all grateful to spend time together, united by our loss. It was a lovely evening and I am so thankful for everyone's presence.
I never got around to posting about last year's 1st Annual Celebration of Life, so I'll briefly share about that too.
|Top Golf 2015|
|Ring finger heart for Brandon|
My friend and I dashed off to go get (tiny) tattoos, in which she had arranged to be done by the same tattoo artist that did Brandon's sleeve.
We then met a large group of friends and family at the park near our house for a chick-fil-a picnic and a lantern release at dusk.
We wrote messages to Brandon and sent them to Heaven, and some to nearby trees and fields. A number of us chased after the misdirected lanterns trying to keep them from starting a fire and soon we were met by a couple fire trucks and firemen - which the kids thought was super cool! Thankfully we were doing nothing illegal and they kindly told us to be careful and they were just doing their job of responding to a call. However, it was enough to make the decision of doing balloons, not lanterns this year quite easy.
|The lanterns with the cross of Mount Lindo in the background|
I hope to continue honoring Brandon's life in years to come to keep his memory and legacy alive, and I am so grateful to have so many who want to continue to join me in doing so.
Thank you for following our journey.