I don’t do birthdays anymore…Is that okay?


How do you tell people in your life that you don’t celebrate your birthday anymore?  Is it weird that I don’t? I stopped celebrating because we lost my brother six days before my birthday last year.  My birthday is this coming Monday and I don’t feel the need to celebrate it.  I don’t want to hear anyone say that birthdays allow us to celebrate life.  I lost my brother six days before last year and to me, it is a reminder my brother is gone.  Perhaps with time, I will learn to get past that memory but for this year it is still a solid memory.

The RA and herniated disc pain has been pretty bad in recent days.  This morning, I was bent over like an old lady and I was also limping. Sounds kind of funny when you think about it.  I had a doctor appointment earlier in the week and was handed a prescription for muscle relaxers.  I have been taking them but it is hard to wake up in the morning because they put me into a deep sleep.   I am not even sure if they are helping me. I am scheduled for another epidural steroid injection next month for my neck.  Both my neck and back pain came back but it is the neck that is worse.  My back pain is more frequent but not as bad as the neck.  As far as the RA goes, I have toe and finger pain.  I would never have imaged writing that down before RA. My toes hurt and my fingers hurt in addition to other joints in my body.  It is sharp stabbing pain and the rest of you RA’ers know exactly what I mean.

I found myself crying this morning as I drove into work. I thought about my brother and that I clearly remember telling him that a year later he would wonder how he got through everything. I never imagined that he wouldn’t be with us this year.  Losing someone you love is hard stuff and it really gets easier.  For me, it has been a reminder to hold those you love close by because you will never know what tomorrow will break.

I wrote these words last year today.  I never imagined I would still be grieving his loss a year later. I suppose it shows how loved he was and still is.

I want to blog and all I want to think about or write about is my brother.  I miss him and I hate that he is gone.  I hate that I feel so empty inside but I am still grieving and I am still mourning.  I am angry at the disease but I am not angry at God.  He called my brother home and I understand that but it doesn’t mean that I don’t miss him or that I don’t wish that he wasn’t diagnosed early enough that he would have had more time with us or even gone into remission.

More than anything I know that he wouldn’t want us to hurt this much because I know how humble and modest he was.  He was content with everything that life handed him and even when he was dying and at his worst, he accepted his fate with such dignity and humility.  He never once said that he didn’t want to die.  What he said was that he accepted the cards he was dealt and all he wanted was his family all around him.

I know that we are lucky because we were given the opportunity to say goodbye.  So often, people don’t get that opportunity.  My brother had his family around him in the last few weeks and moments of his life and I am so appreciative for having had that opportunity.  In the end, the cancer won but my brother never stopped fighting and he fought one heck of a battle.  He was loved by so many people and he is so missed.  What he won’t be is forgotten.  He touched so many lives in his 31 years on this earth and we are lucky ones because he touched our lives for 31 years.

We are coping but we are still grieving and mourning.  His memory will hurt for a long time but he will never be forgotten.  He left behind a mother, six siblings, nineteen nieces and nephews, an amazing extended family, and friends who adored him.   He was loved by so many and I know he deserved all that love.

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4 Responses to I don’t do birthdays anymore…Is that okay?

  1. Marianne says:

    I’m so sorry, Lana.

    It sounds like you are dealing with a lot of pain; physically and emotionally.

    Be kind and gentle with yourself.

  2. Iris Carden says:

    Oh Lana, you poor woman. Grief does take a long time, and sometimes it’s hard to have the celebrations of life in the midst of the grief.

    If you can’t celebrate your birthday this year, surely no-one could hold that against you. Maybe your closest friends could find another way to show their love -no parties and gifts and feasting, but some quiet time to just to remember both the good and the bad, to share the pain, and maybe a little bit of hope as well.

  3. Wren says:

    I’m sorry you’re in such pain, Lana. This is an awful time of year to lose a loved one, and there’s no time limit on grief.

    Nonetheless, I hope life will look a little bit brighter as the year turns, bringing more sunlight into your life each day. And I hope, too, that the epidural injection will help ease your physical pain. Take care, Lana. I celebrate YOU.

  4. Cathy says:

    Lana, I am not sure how to respond except to say you are in my thoughts. I am sending a big hug your way right now. Did you feel it? I hope it wasn’t too hard. 🙂

    Be good to yourself loving those kiddos of yours and yourself.

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