A 25th Birthday

This past Monday was our Sam’s 25th birthday, and the fifth one since his death. Someone, the big numbers hit me really hard. I kept telling myself that 25 really wasn’t that different than 24, or 5 than 4, but it was.

We went into the past weekend with the joy and anticipation of going to see the band Twiddle at their Tumble Down festival in Burlington, Vermont with our two sons, but with the sadness that we never went to see them with Sam in person. The day was hot and a bit humid, and as we (my husband and I) settled in with our lawn chairs at the park, ominous clouds rolled in, and we waited to get doused. A little bit of rain fell, and we thought it would be okay. Then they stopped the group playing (pre-Twiddle) and announced that we all had to evacuate immediately due to lightening in the area. Sigh. Thousands of people had to leave through a couple security gates.

So we walked back to our hotel, knowing we would get an update online when/if the concert could resume. We called our sons (who hadn’t arrived yet) and told them to hold on, and we settled into our hotel room for a few minutes.

The all-clear came, and we walked back down to the park, meeting our youngest son unexpectedly as he came down the street, and we looked up to see a beautiful arching rainbow — and as you know, rainbows often appear when Sam is somehow involved… Laughing, crying a bit, we walked back to the concert, commenting that Sam needed to make his presence known.

The concert was perfection — Taz and Kat Wright joining Twiddle on stage, laughing with our sons, seeing good friends. It was a Sam night, full of love, great music and happiness.

The next day, Sunday, was hard, just plain hard. I remembered the day, 25 years before, when I had been in labor for so long, just waiting to see that baby in person.

Then Monday dawned, and I admit, it was hard to get out of bed, but we had decided that we were going to have a “Sam Day” to honor and recognize his birthday. We kayaked around the Goshen Dam, paddling in almost complete silence so we could hear the loons and the other wildlife. Then we hiked to Silver Lake, saw his tree, and ran into friends — again all things Sam loved.

Finally, we came home and harvested Sam’s garlic for this year. Every single clove of garlic we planted last fall grew into a full head of garlic. Sam was right all along, growing garlic is truly a magical process!

Five birthdays after his death, the loss is still so fresh, still so raw, but we honored his memory by doing things in nature, listening to great music, being with great people. Friends/family called, texted, emailed their thoughts and told us how they celebrated him on that day — and in the end, it was as good of a day as it could possibly have been.

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