Today would have been Jon’s 22nd birthday.
Like all parents, I will never forget that day. It is still the happiest day of my life. It wasn’t supposed to be that day, he was born more than 2 months premature, weighing just 3 pounds 1/2 ounce. He had to fight for life from the start, and fight he did. He was in the hospital for almost two months. He was surrounded by love the whole time, not one day went by where he didn’t have numerous people show up to see him. He was surrounded by love his whole life, we were always proud of him.
I had to take the day off work today, I would have been a wreck had I gone in. Between Thanksgiving without him and his birthday a mere four days later, it’s all I can do to keep it together, and I haven’t been doing all that great of a job doing that. I’ve been playing a lot of WoW because it’s pretty mindless entertainment that can keep me busy for a long time. It keeps me distracted so I don’t dwell on things. Maybe that’s not the right thing to do, I don’t know, but for now, it keeps me sane.
I went to the cemetery already today. I had some things to do there by myself. I brought him a Red Bull and a cigarette from the pack that I buried with him. I talked to him there. I’ve got cupcakes and candles to bring out later. Maybe it’s stupid, but it helps me connect a bit.
Traditionally we would have had dinner at home or at my parent’s house. It was a family thing, us, my parents, my brother’s family and Emily. We’d have cake and open presents. Grandma and Grandpa Marino would come over. We’d talk for a while and just have good family time. It wouldn’t take all that long, maybe an hour or two, especially as he got older and had friends to see, but it was always something special.
Tonight my wife and I will go to the cemetery together. Then we are making shepherd’s pie, one of Jon’s favorite. We’ll have some cupcakes as a birthday cake. It won’t be the same obviously, but we’ll still celebrate and try to think of good times. While there will be many memories, ultimately it will end in crying.
Happy birthday Jon.