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Kansas City MO 64131





Cindy Maddera

I am hesitant to say the things that I am thinking today. Chris would be forty four today, if he were still walking around on this planet. When I think of Chris's birthday, memories go immediately to his last one. I hate that.  Not that it was particularly horrible. Chris was surrounded by friends. There was everything jambalaya and cupcakes. There was plenty of laughter. It's just that all of us knew that this was his last birthday. It was a bitter sweet celebration. Instead of letting my thoughts travel back to that day, I will send them to a different birthday.

When we were in graduate school, we spent almost every Friday evening at Stonewalls. We all met there right at five o'clock. The first one there claimed a table and a pitcher. Chris's birthday rolled around and I decided to have a little surprise party for him at Stonewalls. It was of course Star Wars themed. I had a table cloth and plates and napkins all with Star Wars stuff on it. Even the cake was a Star Wars cake. The only thing I had to do was figure out a way for everyone else in our group to get into Stonewalls before Chris. I gave Tiffany the task of stalling Chris. She came up with some story about how I was pregnant and afraid to tell him. Why this was the story I have no idea, but I can imagine the two of them standing in the alley next to Stonewalls deep in discussion while all our friends passed by one by one to enter the bar. Finally, every one was there that needed to be there and Tiffany brought Chris into the bar.  We all yelled "SURPRISE!" and he was thoroughly surprised. Then I had to explain to Chris that I was not pregnant. We all had a lovely time drinking beer and eating cake for dinner. 

This year I'm not so sure that it is not a coincidence that Chris's birthday has fallen on a day that I choose to write about gratitude. I can look at this day with dread and sadness and depression. I can remember the last moments when things were at their worst or I can look at this day and reflect on all of the good times. The time for sadness is over. From the moment Chris passed on from this world, we have talked about celebrating the life he had. We do not celebrate with tears unless they are happy tears. We remember with joy the greatness, the laughter, and the love that was Chris. I am grateful for every birthday I was able to share with Chris. I am grateful to have been a part of this man's life. I am grateful for all of those people who love Chris. We were all very lucky. So say we all.

I am thankful for play time with puppies, time spent on my mat and cuddles on the couch. I am thankful for the warmer temperatures and weekend full of promise. And I am always, always, thankful for you. Here's to a wonderful weekend and a special Thankful Friday.