The Best Part of a Birthday

Today is the day Joe was born. If he had lived, he would have been 54. In some ways, this year is harder than last. We are no longer numb with disbelief.  We have become well-acquainted with the reality that Joe is not going to show up to greet each of his birthday gifts with, “Oh, come on! You bought me a present? Me? Really? Are you sure this is for me?” continuing to express disbelief until Cole and I both yell with exasperation, “Open it!” We know it’s only a memory the way he would delight in the gift wrap, the tape, the folds in the gift wrap, before finally unveiling the gift and pronouncing it the best gift he had ever been given in his whole entire life. We remember the family hug that would follow the opening of each gift, and how the gifts were then put in the middle of the table so they could be admired and talked about all day.

On one of Joe’s birthdays, Cole was sitting in his dad’s lap eating birthday cake when he asked, “Daddy, do you know the best part about your birthday?” Joe played along, guessing presents, cake, and balloons. Each answer was incorrect, and finally he gave up. Cole flashed one of his famous smiles and said, “You Daddy!”

Its sucks to celebrate Joe’s birthday without the best part.

Today, Cole and I are knocking on heaven’s door and wishing Joe a “Happy Birthday!” from his best gal and his best pal.

Tell me, Oh great and wonderful Odd readers what has been one of your very favorite birthday presents?


P.S: The song Knocking On Heavens Door–Joe loved it; me not so much–I found it a little repetitive. In any case, I will bet you dollars to donuts this song will play at least once somewhere where I will hear it, today.

34 thoughts on “The Best Part of a Birthday

  1. Knock Knock Joe, Happy Birthday!
    GNR has always been one of my all time favs in hair bands. I “get” why Joe liked this song so much too. I know you and Cole will get through this day. I always found the birthdays to be harder than the holidays. Not sure why either. I still send up Happy Birthdays every June and make it a point no matter where I am to call my son.
    My favorite present? Well, every year I have a favorite, but now my current favorite is the picture of my grand daughter in a Halloween onesie with a HUGE smile on her face. My daughter had it done at Walgreens and across the bottom is says “Happy Birthday Grammie” Can I say my heart melted and I smile every time I look at it??…..
    Hugs go out to you today…….

  2. Happy Birthday, Joe. Holding you and Cole close today, Katybeth.

    My favorite birthday present is a charm bracelet given to me by my husband and children. Each picked out their own unique charm; one was a pig made of pink rhinestones…wonder what that meant? Oink! Hugs, Diane

  3. Katybeth, I send you and Cole all of my love today. Happy Birthday Joe…I never knew you here; but its obvious that you shared a lot of love with those around you. You would be proud; I am certain of it, to know that your wife and son continue to share love with those around them every day and in generous, significant ways. May the blessings around all of us continue to abound and grow.

  4. Katybeth, I’m sending you and Cole a big virtual hug today! I know something of what you’re going through — I lost my dad two years ago (New Year’s Eve) and one of my mom’s sisters right before Christmas. Death is hardest on those left behind. I comfort myself with the knowledge that our dear ones are even closer to us now, though we can’t always understand how that can be!

  5. Happy birthday Joe.. I’m sure you’re having fun up there… Angels loves to party! 🙂

    One great birthday memory for me was when Tyra & my husband put a birthday candle on chicken teriyaki dishes – I’m not much of a cake person. 🙂 I just thought that was sweet.

  6. I am so sorry for your loss. The entire weekend sucked from loss. My best friends late son’s birthday was yesterday. He would have been 16 and this was the day he was supposed to get his drivers license. My friend is skin and bone and cries and screams for her boy, and it’s killing me. I told her to send her wishes to Brendan on her blackeberry and to know that God’s Angels will deliver it to him. Maureen knows we will all be united again but as you say a birthday without the love one, whether he be young or old is very difficult. I can only pray and suggest you send Joe your gifts to heaven in a message. May God bless you and comfort you and Cole through this very difficult day and may you know His peace.

  7. Can’t think right now what the best parts of birthdays around here are, cause my eyes have teared over. Sort of short circuits the brain cells. But I wish you and Cole a better tomorrow…though it will never be the same. Hugs to you both.

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