A Birthday After Loss

Today is my 31st birthday.

I have been secretly dreading this day for months now. Not the part about getting older or aging. Quite honestly I couldn’t care less about that and it is the least of my worries. But rather the part that has given me such anxiety is just how empty this one feels.

If someone would have said that during year 30 I would lose my father to pancreatic cancer, learn I miscarried my son at twenty weeks the very next day, have my first two major surgeries in life and have an additional health scare, I would have without question just tapped out from day one. It was simply too much to take.

As my birthday approached I have also been overcome with deep sadness that the two people who created me are no longer on this earth with me on this day. I can barely put it into words but just know that it is beyond heartbreaking to have a birthday without both your mother and your father. And the fact that this would have been my first birthday as a mother has been equally excruciating to hold.

For all of those reasons, I honestly could have skipped September 9th altogether this year and truly would have been better off. As I stared into the approaching 31, I was completely numb.

What if? What if 31 is the same or God forbid worse than 30 was? There were many days I felt like I crawled through fire and that is something you just can’t process doing twice.

This morning I didn’t know what to do so I started the day off in silent reflection and prayer.

In that silent reflection I made a very important decision for the year ahead. I decided that I will eliminate all expectations for myself this year. I can’t predict the future and I am not going to even try anymore. It doesn’t mean I won’t have any goals or positive plans for my life moving forward. But rather my goals and plans this year will be broad enough to allow them to come to fruition however God intends them too. I realized that the times when my life expectations were so narrow, that they had to appear in one particular way, were often the times I was most devastated when they didn’t appear or not in the way I envisioned.

This year I choose to stare at a blank canvas and allow the paint strokes of my life to appear in the colors and designs as they were meant to be. I won’t be forceful with the brush and I won’t be disappointed if a blue stripe appears instead of a green one. I will do my best to sit back and enjoy the experience along the way.

Let me be clear, removing expectations will not bring my parents or my son back. Removing expectations will not take the pain of 30 away. Removing expectations will not make me the person who I was once before.

But removing expectations will allow me to be open to possibility. And maybe just maybe possibility will along the way begin to fill the emptiness.

So I walk into 31 with possibility and a whole lot of faith.

~ C ~

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