Today is my birthday. I’m 46 years old.
I did what I do every birthday since my mom died, I went to her site and talked to her. I usually take her a rose for every year I’ve been alive. This year I could only afford two dozen roses. I felt really shitty about not being able to buy all the roses because just last week I bought a new laptop after my old one gave out on me.
As I cleared her site, clipped overgrown grass, brushed away leaves, and cleaned her remembrance marker, I noticed her date of birth — 1945.
That means she was 47.
She was 47 when she died? How did I forget that? She was 47 and I’m 46. In one year, I’ll be the same age as her when she died.
It occurred to me that in some weird way it’s like I’m living her last year. That’s when it all hit me.
I broke down.
The firs few years after her death, I’d break down for no reason at all. I’d be in the grocery store or in my car reading a chemistry textbook for class and I’d just break down and cry. So you can imagine the break downs I’d have driving to her site. After a few years, I could hold it off until I saw her marker at the cemetery. It’s taken another few years to be able to do simple things like clear the snow or the leaves from her site before my grief overpowers me.
Today’s breakdown was bad. It was like those first few years bad.
I kneeled on the cold wet ground looking at her marker. I started to think about what it would be like next year when I turned 47. That’s when I started sobbing.
“I want this year to be the last year I come here and cry like this on my birthday,” I wept. “I can”t do it anymore. It’s killing me.”
“I want to come back next year and celebrate the best year of my life,” I said wiping my eyes with cuff of my jacket. “I want to come back next year knowing that you lived it with me.
“This is the last year,” I whispered. “I need you to help me.”
So my friends, this is the beginning of #TheLastYear. I don’t know what direction this project will take or what will happen. But I do know that I can’t do this alone. I need your help, too.