Happy birthday! 55 is such a cool number – I woke up this morning thinking about how we would celebrate this year if you were here. I know what you would want: Your family and a few close friends around you, good food – maybe something Greek – and a good round of golf. Your loves were simple and consistent.
Sometimes I wonder what your life would be like had ALS not interrupted it but my imagination won’t reach very far because it’s impossible to know for sure and because I feel so certain that you completed your mission here on earth so well. I am confident you would love being a grandpa and that those boys would both have golf clubs by now, but beyond that I’m mostly content to replay our best moments in my head, knowing your life is more amazing today than it ever could be here with us.
These past years without you have been long and strange and wonderful and terrifying and beautiful and difficult. It’s been a season of contradictions, where I have felt strong and weak, loved and lonely, confused and certain, scared spitless and profoundly brave. So much of what I knew before, I knew because of you. Our lives were so intertwined that when you flew away home, I sometimes felt that half of me had flown with you. You were such a builder for me. Your patience, encouragement and unfailing kindness built the house that I call My Life. You set the foundation in place for what I know I can do and be. You tethered me to love and in the most selfless act, as you saw your days ending, handed the hammer over to me and constantly reassured me that I could build without you near; that I would survive and grow and become.
Thank you. For sticking with me when it looked so shaky and uncertain. For loving our kids with such quiet strength. For strengthening your friends with determined faithfulness and grace. You were a brilliant builder and you completed your part of the work so well. We promise to keep going. We are building and becoming and I think you’d like what we’ve done with the place. In fact, I know you would.
Riley asked the other day, “When does spring really start in Central Oregon?” I didn’t have a good answer then because this winter has felt endless, but today I think do. Spring starts whenever we decide that winter is over. For me, on this beautiful anniversary of your birth, spring starts today.
So, happy birthday dearest Steve. My greatest joy and honor will always be that I was a witness to your beautiful life.