When I think of you I still picture a young man; it’s how I’ve preserved you in my head. I picture the smile that stretched across your face, the sound of your laugh, the feeling of your hand in mine. I picture you as you were.
Twenty-eight. That’s how old you would have been today and, as hard as I try, I can’t seem to wrap my head around that fact.
Who would you have been? Where would you be? Would you have looked the same? Sounded the same? Would you still be drawing or onto another lifestyle?
We had created this little routine for your birthday; I would have made some comment to you about being so old today (“Almost 30?!”) and you would have laughed and made fun of me for being young. It was small and sarcastic but it was ours and I loved it. I’ve been replaying your last birthday we spent together over and over in my head. When I walked through the door, you picked me up and wouldn’t let me go right away. We laughed, we grilled, we binge-watched SVU, and we spent as much time together as we could. That’s the last birthday memory I’ll ever have of you.
Birthdays are my favorite. Mostly because I know how important they are. I’ve had enough people in my life die for me to learn how precious this life is and to celebrate each year that passes. But today, I’m not in the celebrating mood. Your birthday is a reminder of what I’ve lost. And that each year that passes, I grow another year older than you.
Today, I can’t stop picturing your smile. It’s not often that I remember you that way so I’ll take it as a sign and I’ll celebrate and remember you today.
Happy birthday, Luke.