Friday, July 18, 2008

Birthday Blues

Guess who's birthday it is today? Think I feel much like celebrating? My life feels like it is a bad serial in the comic book pages. You know, the ones where you have to read little tidbits everyday to find out what drama happens in the lives of two-dimensional, black-and-white characters. That is how I feel today especially - flat, colorless, and quickly yesterday's news. Yes, I hate feeling sorry for myself and if I had one more ounce of strength, I would have realized this more fully and not have written anything at all. But I don't and apathy has set in as far as what anyone thinks of me today - well almost.

Summer, particularly around my birthday, hasn't had the best track record for me. For one thing, my father died on my birthday when I was 18. I had just graduated high school and was preparing to go away to college when he succumbed to cancer. He died at 12:06 a.m. on July 19. My birthday is the 18th.

My family said that somehow he knew and was holding on and did not want to die on my
birthday so he held out as long as he could. I guess he made it. After the calendar struck 19, he slipped away. I remember getting the call. I wasn't at the hospital, I had just left for the evening. I didn't have to hear the news, all I needed to hear was the sobbing from my sister. I knew. I expected it, yet I didn't. I hadn't gone to bed, hadn't slept, so it still felt like it was my birthday. However, there is some comfort in believing that he held out for me - whether it is actually true or not. God surely had His hand in it, though.

Another birthday disaster was one of my best friends told me that she wanted no more to do with me. That has been too many years to mention, but it still haunts me. There really wasn't much of reason for it, it was just something that someone told her to do. It was on my birthday and I had a few people in the office where I worked in there at the time I read her note. My co-workers were there with cake and punch while my heart was breaking. I had to work 13 hours that birthday. Yet, I kept on a smile through the whole thing - secretly wanting them to leave me alone.

Still another bad birthday was when I was having a bad time generally, like this year. I felt insignificant and turned to my girlfriend at the time for comfort. Her family had just left the area because her dad got a new job in another state. Well, to deal with my neurosis, she told me how significant I was to her. She said that I was the only reason she was still there. Otherwise, she would have left with her family. That kind of snapped me out of it.

Why is that a bad memory you ask? It was only a short time later that she left me for some guy she met on the internet. Now the memory of her life-infusing speech on my birthday just mocks me as I try to get past yet another one.

Some of you were here when I wrote about the birthday I spent standing in a hospital room wondering if my mother was going to make it. You can read about that one here.

However, of all the bad birthdays, this one takes the (birthday) cake. It starts out with my wife going out of town, spending the weekend with another man, and ends with me contemplating the unrealized goals that make my birthday even harder to bear as I get
farther away from my actual date of birth and longer in the teeth.

9 comments:

Sayre said...

I suppose "happy birthday" may seem a bit trite, so how about "one year wiser"?

Yes. Your birthdays have been bummers. Some, REAL bummers. But you know what? They won't always be like that. In fact, one day you will say that a birthday was the best day ever. Unfortunately, I can't tell you which one that will be. Retrospectively, it might even be this one. Just not today.

Birthday hugs from your cyber friends!

HoosierGirl5 said...

You know what would make you feel better? A birthday phone call from a good friend....hint, hint. But that good friend can't call you if she doesn't know your phone number....

Birthday hug!!!

J.

HollyGL said...

Of course I missed your actual birthday. ...and I'm so sorry it was yet another melancholy birthday.

I know its going to be terribly difficult for you emotionally for awhile. Please know you are in my thoughts and prayers.

kristen said...

Oh Jeff, I just read this and your previous post. I am so sorry. You don't deserve to be put through this nor this kind of hurt. I hope that this year picks up so that next year you can say "Hey, my birthday wasn't so bad".

You'll be in my thoughts and prayers. (((Hugs)))

chosha said...

Your birthday should be good, and clearly you've had some shockers. But in the end, Jeff, it's just another day. Birthdays mean something because we assign meaning to them, and on those self-created milestones we think we have to be able to look at our lives and see certain things. Well we don't.

I get that you life isn't what you want it be right now, and not what you expected it to be, but good lord you have a lot more of it to live and it doesn't HAVE TO be any particular way right now.

It's your birthday. I find you interesting and kind and I'm glad you were born. I also believe to an extent in karma. You send goodness out and I trust it will come back to you. I hope it's soon.

Jeff said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeff said...

Folks, thanks again for your thoughts. I know that birthdays are really just days. However, it is different in that it is the day that other people may think of you and your welfare just a little more than usual - thus, the cakes and presents and whatnot. When that day goes bad, it is just bad.

However, in retrospect, my birthday wan't all that bad. There was a number of firsts and in context, it wasn't as bad as it could have been. The season around it will haunt me forever, though.

Anonymous said...

Jeff,

So sorry for all you are going thru. Hang in there.......and I hope you believe in what chosha wrote. I also find you interesting and you seem to be a kind, insightful person. I hope this turns out to be a positive and good year for you.

Michelle from Massachusetts

Michelle said...

My mom had three major tragedies on her birthday - plane crash, mining disaster and something else I can't remember now.

Can't we just skip the cake, set your wife on fire and let you make a wish?

okay, okay... bad of me, but I don't care. :-P I'm all for wishing her EVERYTHING she's put you through coming back at her and whacking her in the face like some giant cosmic custard pie.