Wednesday, February 11, 2009


It rhymes. Handy, that. It helped me remember Samantha's age as well as her birthday. It's amazing what personal data of hers is still floating around in my head. I can still recite her driver's license and Social Security number, which seems weird to me now. Maybe it's because I had over 20 years to learn it, and she's only been gone for 4.

Sam's birthday has come and gone four times since she took her last breath in 2005. Each time, the kids and I have observed it, celebrated it. We go out to dinner, and we get a cake and put number candles for her would-be age on top. We celebrate a life ended far too prematurely.

I can't speak for my kids, but this year is different for me. Not because she would have been 42. This year, there is someone else in the picture. A partner. A fiancée. A mom-to-be. And it's got me in a weird place.

Let me be perfectly clear: this is all my own neurosis, my own baggage. Raechelle is totally supportive of celebrating Sam's birthday with the kids and me. She suggested continuing the ritual as per usual, with no deviation simply because she was now present. She completely understands missing someone I was with for over half my life, and although I do not put my relationship with Sam on a pedestal, reason dictates there will be days when the loss will be felt more acutely. The woman's birthday is one of those days.

As I said, any guilt I feel for being happily in a relationship on the birthday of my late wife is of my own manufacture. And I'm really working on making it go away. And Raechelle, bless her, is incredibly helpful by lavishing her love upon me and reminding me that Sam would want me to be happy. And she's right. I am fulfilling Samantha's last directive by finding a loving partner and remarrying -- for myself and for the children. And I'm very much in love and full of all kinds of hope for the future.

On the surface, it's a no-brainer. I'm incredibly happy and satisfied in my relationship with Raechelle. I can intellectualize it until the cows come home. But there's a hint of sadness and weirdness in my gut today. Understandably so, I think.

Perhaps it's just another milestone.
One of the last firsts.
And I know Raechelle gets that.

Slàinte, Sam, wherever you are. Happy Birthday.


konradical said...

amen, Todd, your emotions may be complicated, but no one can blame you for honoring both the happiness and sadness of this day.

Dee said...

I think all of your feelings are perfectly normal. I also think you guys should go ahead with your birthday ritual and have the cake. Sam was your past, Raechelle (I still have a hard time calling her that) is your present and your future. I'm sure she'd love to share in the b-day celebration and it's probably very important for your kids. I'll be thinking of all you guys today.

Lucy Leadskin said...

Sending lots of hugs, love and support for the entire family! :D

[This post brought to you by the veriword 'lumist': a specialist in light and lightbulbs.]

Anonymous said...

I agree with Dee. Make a new tradition of celebrating this special day with ALL of you. Embrace the whole enchilada. I'll bet your guilt will actually grow if you don't.

Happy Birthday, Sam. We all miss you.

Anonymous said...

You are very lucky to have such a wonderfully understanding and empathetic fiance!!

Marcia said...

Much love to all of you on this day.

Stacey said...

Yes, I think you are doing very well actually. And I'm glad you have people that love and support you through it.

TigereyeSal said...

Happy birthday to Sam!

This are bittersweet moments in the life of remarried widowed folk. I'm probably the happiest I've ever been in my life, but there are time when I miss Willis with an aching, yawning sense of loss. The head has a hard time with these concepts, but the heart "gets" it. The heart just opens and expands and encompasses all.