Last night my younger son, now 11, asked me what we are doing Sunday. Sunday is Amy's birthday.
"I don't know. What would you like to do?"
He just looked at me and after a long moment started crying. He came over and we held each other.
Grief is a shitty thing. Pops up now and again in seemingly random ways. Like stubbing your toe on a corner you've successfully walked past a thousand times. The grief pain is different now. Yes, it's less, and not everyday. But more so it's different.
Seven years ago, this January 22, we celebrated Amy's 42nd birthday. Amy, a staunch pro-choicer, used to say that she "hated, hated! Roe v. Wade day." Surprised friends would look at her askew and she'd continue, "I hate it because someone is always protesting on my birthday!"
I like that joke and it helps me remember when Roe v. Wade day is. I also can't help but wonder how we'd celebrate her birthday this year: two days after The Inauguration and the day after the Women's March. She'd be turning 49. Seven times seven. A perfect square. I'm sure we'd have made something out of that. It being a Sunday and a non-decadenal birthday, we'd probably keep it simple, order in and have Pepperidge Farm Orange Milanos (her inexplicable favorite) along with chocolate and vanilla ice cream. Maybe we'd get fancy and pop a bottle of sparkling wine for the grown-ups.
My younger son has lived longer without his mom than with her. It breaks my heart when I think about what was taken from him. From us.
Moments. Memories. Even the toe stubs. That's what we keep.