Happy birthday, Kim.

A bittersweet day. The day my beautiful Kim entered this world 55 years ago. My brothers and sisters and I (and a few nephews and nieces) all participate in a family text group, and it was with dewy eyes I read their birthday wishes for her. One in particular, from my older brother:

“Happy Birthday Kim! I cannot help but think you came into this world on the first day of the month we attribute to Love and were born to eternal life on the first day of the month we celebrate the ultimate love – the birth of Our Lord and Savior! Give Him a big hug for us! Love you!

And as I type this, Siri is telling me to call Kim as it has found her birthday in my contacts.

At 9:00, there will be a mass in her name at St. Thomas a’Becket, our parish for a little more than the past decade.

It’s starting off to be an emotionally hard day.

Another Pleasant Valley Sunday…

The new Sunday ritual: 8:00 mass, then to the cemetery to visit Kim’s, her mom’s, my dad’s, my grandparents’, and my grand aunts’ and uncles’ graves. It snowed a bit last night, and the roads were still a mess. They were still clearing the roads within the cemetery when we arrived. We stopped at the mausoleum to use the bathrooms (it’s a good drive from home to the cemetery), and were there before they had opened it – thankfully, the individual who was to do so was parked directly in front of us, and promptly unlocked the doors and let us in.

Since August of 2019, Kim had made this trip with her dad each Sunday — sometimes with me, if I had the day off, but many times without. Before COVID, we’d go to 8:00 mass with her Dad at St. Collette’s in Livonia, go out to breakfast at a little diner he and mom used to like, back to his house to combine cars, then off to the cemetery, usually stopping at a florist on the way to get flowers for each of the graves. Honestly, I can’t remember making the trip after COVID. I’m sure we did for a while – I just cannot recall any of them. Dad’s in Florida now, so it’s just Jillian and me for the time being. When he returns, Jillian and I will still go to mass at St. Thomas a’Becket, but we’ll meet dad at his house afterward, where he’ll have a little breakfast before we all get into my truck and go visit the graves.

It’s sad, but it is somehow refreshing to go each week, clean the grave blankets of snow and say a prayer over Kim. It makes me feel better, anyway.

As I mentioned yesterday, tomorrow is Kim’s 55th birthday. Jillian and I added her birthday bouquet to the grave blanket – the wind or the rotten deer dragged off the big purple ribbon which was the blanket’s centerpiece… The bouquet looks pretty good there, I think.

The bouquet in the blanket.

From there, we returned home and went to Grandma Sue’s for a little birthday brunch to celebrate Kim. When asked if I wanted to say a prayer for Kim as the Sander’s Bumpy Cake – our family’s traditional birthday cake – was being cut, all I could manage was “Happy birthday, Kim.” I hope that was prayer enough. I was a little emotionally raw at the time, and that was all I could come up with.

I hope Kim has a beautiful heavenly birthday celebration at God’s throne, with her mom, my dad, Grandpa Rick, and all of our friends and relatives who went before us.