Sam would have turned 39 today.
She was proud of every new smile crease and wrinkle, ecstatic when she found her first gray hair - it mean she had achieved age, and she equated that with wisdom and character. In her case, I'd mostly agree (at least the character part - ;) ).
But after her cancer diagnosis at age 35, those birthdays meant something else entirely. It was an even more profound milestone, because cancers of her kind usually killed within 6 months, and by the time she hit 38, she'd outlasted those odds by about two years.
After that last birthday, "mile marker thirty-eight" as Caleb wrote in his poem, it was over. The doctors gave up, and I think she gave up on herself. Although she acted tough and resolute, I could tell that she'd lost the battle in her mind... it would only be a matter of time. Infections and surgeries and hospitalizations didn't help either. Starting in March, she began to shut down.
Today I woke up missing her. Did some writing and production prep. Focused on mundane tasks and kids. Got a very nice phone check-in from Sam's brother, feeling a similar melancholy vibe. Then I sent the kids off to a friend's house to play, and went to Brian Chase's studio with Caleb and Muriel to work on the tribute CD. The Divine Mizz M. trooped through the vocals for FOUR entire songs, including overdubs and harmonies that had never been rehearsed. And she put them ALL in the can in three hours. I'm in awe of Muriel - the vocals do not in any way sound like Sam's, but the point is that they are not like her, they are for her.
And finally Caleb took the mic and recited Mile Marker Thirty-Eight, at the end of Sometimes, the end lyrics of which still haunt me...
But knowing I am here
Away from what I love
Lets my heart know
We have somewhere to go
Leaving all behind
The places and the time
When I'm with you
Stopped at the store on the way home and picked up dinner and a small chocolate cake. When the kids get back, we'll have a little birthday celebration for mommy.
Happy Birthday, honey. I miss you.
UPDATE: We had some dinner and each lit a candle for the cake, then we sang happy birthday. Then I happened to see a photo (this one, of her kissing me at my 21st birthday in 1989) and it all imploded. Major wave. Crash.
Now all I want to do is get drunk... but I don't think depressants are a good idea right now.
I've said it before, and I'll keep saying it until it ceases to be true: This sucks.