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Cindy Maddera

I opened my Fortune Cookie journal to the next open space. "You will have a deep, meaningful conversation with an important person that will be life changing." I blinked at the prompt and tapped my pen against the paper. I set the pen down and picked up my phone, but then I set the phone back down because it was February sixth. I picked the pen up again and stared at the blank paper below the prompt. I was stumped. I didn't know if I should write something true or make something up. Girl meets the Dali Llama seemed too obvious. I made a sideways glance at my phone. I would not get on that sorrow train. I said this to myself as I once again picked up my phone to just take a peek to see if anyone had said anything about Chris's birthday. There was one "Happy Birthday" in Chris's timeline from someone I did not know. 

It was seven thirty in the morning. The day was young. I was sure that there'd be more birthday wishes to follow. I was curious about this first birthday message though. This stranger's "Happy Birthday!" seemed more like the kind you'd leave for a living human being. Maybe this person didn't know Chris was dead. Of course that's dumbs. How could this person not know Chris is dead? I'm in this limbo of feelings: sad that no one else has posted on Chris's timeline even though it's 7:30 in the morning and relieved that no one is making a big deal that it's Chris's birthday. I am slightly annoyed by this stranger's generic "Happy Birthday!" Way to make your birthday wishes so personal and heartfelt, Dude. I put my phone down and stopped trying to stalk a dead man, but I knew that I would end up checking Chris's timeline throughout the day. 

I returned my focus back to my journal. Conversation with an important person. The whole "important person" is a relative term to me. Anyone and everyone can be an important person at any given time. It just depends on the conversation and if this so called important person is saying words that you need to hear in that moment. I've had a number of deep, meaningful conversations with Terry in his backyard church. I consider Terry to be an important person, but that guy over there walking down the sidewalk would think otherwise. There was that time I gushed all over Brene Brown about how I was so dang happy, but that was less of a conversation and more of a vomit of emotions. After that, I learned to never admit just how happy I was. I could be happy, but I could not be stupid happy, because I learned that disasters follow those kinds of confessions.

In the end, I decided to write something honest, a conversation with Chris. I still want to talk to him. I want to know what he thought about Star Wars and how Deadpool will pan out. It would be nice if he finally told me what he wanted done with his ashes. It would be nice if he told me that he approved of the way I've handled myself in the years since he's been gone. I'd love to ask him who this guy was that left a Happy Birthday message on his Facebook timeline. I'd love to hear him say something that will make me laugh. He has not come to me in a dream in ages and maybe that's his way of saying "Move on. You will never know the answers to your questions." Except, I don't want to move on. I'm not ready to move on. I'll move forward. I have been moving forward. There's a difference. Moving on sounds like something you do after breaking up with a bad boyfriend. 

I know you're sitting over there reading this and thinking "Good God, are we going to hear her whine about her dead husband every year?!" Yes you are. So just assume that this blog comes with a warning label in February: Warning! Contains sadness and grief! May not be suitable for those not ready to talk about or are tired of hearing about death. It's going to be a topic around here probably every year around this time. Because that's when the memories of the horror of it all haunt the loudest. That's when I force myself to remember Chris as he was before he got sick so I don't remember the last morning. So I have the good memories clanging against the bad memories in an epic sword fight, poking my brain, my heart.

February is the worst.