Keith’s Birthday

April 10th was Keith’s birthday. He would have turned 59! Yes, he was 15 years older than me – a reality that would cause me to pause every once in a while. I used to think that when I was 65, he would be 80, and we could both be retiring – me from work and he from life! Apparently, someone had a different plan for us, and that worry was for nothing.

Four few years after Keith died was his 50th birthday. I wanted to do something to honour this big day – even though he was not here. I asked everyone to eat pasta, drink red wine, and have chocolate ice cream for dessert… all his favourites.

I was amazed at the mixed responses I got. Some thought it was a great idea and embraced it. Others thought I was crazy (good thing I was used to my widowhood craziness!), and some others participated reluctantly, hoping that I would not do this every year. My thought was that if Keith were alive, I would be doing something to celebrate the day anyway. So why shouldn’t we remember Keith on this important day?

In the last few years, my daughter and I have started the tradition of releasing a balloon on his birthday. It is a special moment that we share and remember Keith together.

Last year, we went to a field with one lonely tree in it. When she let go of the balloon, it got tangled in that one and only tree. Just like Keith, to take the path less travelled and get tangled up and not make the journey easy! But don’t worry, the balloon did come loose and took off.

This year was no different. It was a very windy day and, as we were getting organized, the wind took one of the balloons before we were ready! Again, just like Keith to not wait, be impatient, and work on his own time frame!

I find it so cool that something as simple as a balloon release can take on aspects of Keith’s personality. Makes me believe that, in some way, he is with us and watching over us.


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