Let's Go To The Zoo, Part Four
ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED

In Absentia

Dadsbday2011

I was planning to write some kind of tribute. Something happy. Nostalgic and sentimental. I felt confident I could scan some photos, talk about the good times, tell a funny story or two, anything but more cancer talk. Anything but loss, death, grief, because no. It is his birthday. 

But instead the words are jumbled up inside, trapped within a knotty ball of discomfort somewhere above my heart and below my throat, but the idea of untangling it all seems more likely to result in heaving sobs instead of an eloquently written tribute. 

I just. It hurts so hard. I miss him so much. I want him back. 

I want to send him an Amazon gift certificate and talk to him on the phone. I want to hear about the yellow cake with chocolate frosting, his favorite. I want to visit him this weekend and cook for him or treat him to carryout from a restaurant and apologize for how loud the kids are being and for never knowing what to get him for his birthday besides another lame Amazon gift certificate. 

Because that's what I got him for his last birthday, and the birthday before his last birthday, before "his last birthday" meant something else. 

And yet...no. It wasn't his last birthday, because today is his birthday. And it will be his birthday next November 15th and the November 15th after that. 

Today will always be his birthday. 

Happy birthday, Dad. 

Thank you to the American Cancer Society for sponsoring this post, this day, as part the wonderful, dear-to-my-heart More Birthdays campaign.

Comments

Avitable

I'm sorry, Amy. Happy birthday to your Dad.

Starbuck

For not knowing if you could write something eloquent and beautiful, let me tell you, you just did. Thinking of you and your family today and sending hugs.

A.

Oh Amy, I'm so sorry. And you put it well. It's been 7 months since my mom died (and her birthday, Mother's Day, wedding anniversary) and I still can't put into words the good times. Or the good memories. I'm just still so sad, too.

I want you to know that while I wish neither of us had to go through a loss like this, your words continue to be a comfort to me.

Thoughts to you on this day.

Kati

I'm so sorry for your loss, Amy. I'm a childhood cancer survivor and with that means that I've lost lots of friends. All of their birthdays, even ten or 15 years later are still their birthdays. November 15 will always be your Daddy's birthday and it will always be special. You are so eloquent in your grief and I am amazed. Thinking of you today.

Kati

I'm so sorry for your loss, Amy. I'm a childhood cancer survivor and with that means that I've lost lots of friends. All of their birthdays, even ten or 15 years later are still their birthdays. November 15 will always be your Daddy's birthday and it will always be special. You are so eloquent in your grief and I am amazed. Thinking of you today.

Lexa

And he loved all the "lame" Amazon cards and the loud kids so much. You brought a lot of joy to his life. I am sorry today is such a difficult day. Thinking of you.

Kim

Oh, Amy. Be gentle with yourself in your grief, especially on the rough days. This is one of those days when I let my kids have or do what they want, just to see them happy and make the day go smoothly. I hope yours does.

Kim

Oh, Amy. Be gentle with yourself in your grief, especially on the rough days. This is one of those days when I let my kids have or do what they want, just to see them happy and make the day go smoothly. I hope yours does.

Kim

Oh, Amy. Be gentle with yourself in your grief, especially on the rough days. This is one of those days when I let my kids have or do what they want, just to see them happy and make the day go smoothly. I hope yours does.

Kim

Oh, Amy. Be gentle with yourself in your grief, especially on the rough days. This is one of those days when I let my kids have or do what they want, just to see them happy and make the day go smoothly. I hope yours does.

grammargeek

June 8th will always be my dad's birthday. He fought a good fight, but melanoma got him in the end.

Cancer sucks.

Liz

Beautiful post, Amy. I'm still so sorry for the loss of your dad. It hurts in a very raw way, doesn't it? I have a close family member dying of multiple myeloma, and I'm shocked anew every day at how much it hurts. Love is such a powerful thing, and it never goes away.

I'm know you will always miss him, but there are more cheerful days ahead. I hope tomorrow is one of them.

Liz

*I know

liz

Sending hugs to you and your family.

Erin

It's so hard. I am so sorry for your pain.

Today is my birthday too. My favorite cake, really, yellow cake with chocolate frosting.

Sending you positive vibes and prayers of peace.

Erin

michele

I am so sorry Amy. I do know how you feel. I just an email reminder from the florist that my Mother's birthday is Saturday, we lost her to cancer 4 yrs ago, it is still wrenching. "Missing someone isn't about how long it has been since you last saw them or the amount of time since you last talked. It is about that very moment when you are doing something and you want them right there with you." It means you love them & that love lives on inside of you. The first year of milestones is so especially hard, be gentle with yourself. Birthday prayers for your Dad, you & your family!

Arnebya

I wish there was something I could do or say to ease your pain. I got nothing profound, just heartfelt thoughts for you and your family today (and all days without your dad). Happy birthday to him.

Karen

I am so sorry. Happy Birthday to your dad, now and always.

Jenna

Oh my heart.

Even when you think you're not writing a perfect tribute, you are.

Happy Birthday to your dad. And hugs to you.

Nicole

Sending you virtual hugs.

Happy Birthday to your dad. Always.

Laura

Cheers to your Dad and to the loving daughter he raised. I'm sure he's smiling extra big today.

Issa

Happy birthday to your dad.

Here *hands over the espresso truffles*

Babs

Today is the 5th birthday without my B-I-L. It still sucks. There's nothing quite like watching two little kids make their dad a cake knowing he'll never taste a bite. But, at least they can enjoy some sweetness today.

Life of a Doctor's Wife

Sending you internet hugs and warm thoughts.

Sheryl

I'm sorry. My dad would have turned 80 today, if he were still here.

Kristen

It's okay. My father died five years ago, and my cell phone still has his entry in there as "Mom and Dad," and I still say I'm going to my parents' house, etc. They're not here, but they're still here. It's okay.

Claire

I'm so sorry.

Snarky Amber

I love you, Amy. I'm sorry you're hurting today.

Fuck you, cancer.

Ali

Fuck cancer.

Roberta

Happy birthday to your Dad! (Dammit.) My Dad's birthday was yesterday, as it happens. The sixth that passed without him. All we can do is remember and love.

biglittleowl

All I can send is a gigantic hug. We will always be our parents' children - to them, and to us...fuck cancer.

Dawn

This was a lovely tribute, Amy. Perhaps not as eloquent as you're capable of being, but plenty eloquent enough.

My dad would have been 99 on Oct 23, so he probably wouldn't still be alive today no matter what. Doesn't matter. Still miss him every day. Fuck heart disease, too.

Wendy

I'm so sorry.. that really made me quiet there... cancer sucks.

chiquita

I'm so sorry. cancer does suck. hug your boys tight.

Tarrah

It has been 13 years since I lost my mom to cancer and there is still that moment of panic the day before her birthday "Oh shit! I forgot to get a card!"
Your post made me teary: for the inadequacy of my 21 year old self expressing my feelings and fears, and for all the lame gift cards I never got to give. Hugs to you and your family.

ccr in MA

I vividly remember that feeling. Now that it's been a couple of years, my pain isn't as sharp, and the timing of it is more random, but it's still there of course. I hope you got through the day okay. Happy your dad's birthday to you.

Monique

Tearing up, Amy. I'm so sorry. Those damn birthday reminders are the best and worst thing to happen to humankind. My very close friend died a few years ago, and I have received those unexpected reminders about his birthday. Hurts down deep. Can't imagine what it feels like when the reminder is about your dad. Happy birthday, Amy's dad. Love love, love, Amy.

Lisa

Ugh. My Dad has been gone 2 years now and still some days the ache of it all takes my breath away. Hugs to you.

Stephanie

i truly feel your pain. tomorrow is the anniversary of my dad's death last year... we've been thru a year of firsts and it still hurts so fucking bad...

JennyA

Oh Amy. Hugs to you.

(PS -- before I got to the endo f the post I was going "No, no! It's not his last birthday, it will always be his birthday!" This hit me especially hard, I think. Seriously, hugs.)

amyd

Wishing you peace on this day. I don't think I have ever commented before, but I enjoy reading your writing. The thing that keeps me coming back to your blog is your voice; you have a natural style of writing and are funny. I also have a three year old girl who was born a few months before Ezra so I appreciate your perspective on dealing with a three year old (I also have a 13 year old)

I lost my Dad almost 10 years ago and his birthday is coming up (Nov. 21). I'd like to say the pain and sorrow go away, but it doesn't completely. Not a day goes by without me thinking of him and wishing he was still here. On a positive note, though, the sorrow has faded a little and I can now remember him with a sliver of happiness mixed in with the grief more so than in the first few years after we lost him. Take care.

charing

I have celebrated my Dads birthday for the past 6 years without him. I know the feeling all to well.
The sadness never really goes away you just go on.
My youngest never met my Dad but I tell him stories and show him pictures.
Sending hugs your way----we are in the same club.

kelly

so sorry for your loss, and the reminder to cherish my loved ones every day.
know that he is with you, all around you, and sees you and is so proud of you.

Andrea/Confessions of a Daydream Believer

BIG XXOOXXOO
I am so very sorry:-(

charlie

I'm huggin you when I see you next and that's all.

Robin

Happy Sad Birthday. Hugs to you and your family.

Janessa

I'm sorry, Amy. Happy Birthday to your Dad.

mrs. q.

Sorry you are hurting. I will always celebrate my dad's birthday. And we eat cake.

Amanda

Crap. That's my Dad's birthday too, and I missed it (for some reason we never celebrated it much). His cancer hasn't got him yet, but dammit, I did want to say happy birthday!

Jill

The sadness never goes does it? But that's OK, we can live with sadness. And it helps me to know that other people feel it the same way. Thank you.

Erin G

This is the first time I am commenting because I never had anything of value to add before. The struggle with your dad has/had many parallels with my grandmother's battle with lung cancer. She was my primary care-giver growing up and I miss her every day- especially since she never got to meet her first great-grandson. I am just happy I was able to tell her about Joe before she died.
11/15 is my birthday and also the day we buried my grandmother last year after a brief, but courageous, battle with lung cancer. I now love and hate everything this day represents and I am having a hard time reconciling the two events.
Hopefully, with time, you will be able to celebrate your dad on this day.

Sue

So, so sorry. Still crushed for you.

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