I had a different take on what your 50th birthday was going to look like. It certainly wasn’t what my life looks like today. I have built a new one, and sometimes I have to pinch myself to believe I could ever feel happy, let alone married again. I fought through a ridiculous amount of guilt to get here, and it still rears its ugly head at times. I often wonder what you’ll say when I reach Heaven’s gates. I think back to when this all happened ten years ago, and see how different I am. I’m not the woman you met, dated, or married. I have changed in ways that I did not think were possible, but I had to in order to survive. I couldn’t be the same person, because I didn’t want to. All the ways in which I lived had to change, and I had to reevaluate my life. I had to recalibrate how I parented. I failed miserably at being a single mom. I have many family and friends that would likely argue that with me, but that’s because they love me. I am a good mom, and I will always will be, but I am also realistic. My children will never have to wonder about that. 

However, they will always wonder what life could have been with you still here. I wish I knew how to take their pain from them. I would live with all of it, if it meant they could heal their broken hearts. Ten years is a blink of an eye, and it puts everything life is made up of into perspective. This is why I decided that I had to make amends in my heart for past hurts. I had to learn to forgive myself for being taken advantage of and/or taken for granted. I also had to face my own shit, my own inconsistencies, and my own issues that I allowed to hold me back. I refuse to allow that anymore. I refuse to be afraid of taking risks and failing, which has been a fear my whole life. You made life so easy for me, I was so kept and accommodated that being alone was not just painful, it was terrifying to me. It was in that moment that I realized my entire identity was wrapped in you. Typically, I suppose this would be okay with you around, but you weren’t. It forced me to truly see who I had become and I didn’t like her. I will no longer ever have the carpet whipped from under me, because if tragedy was to ever strike again in my life, I have built the backbone I thought I had so many years ago. It was you who helped me do this, and you weren’t even here. You were still making me a better woman, long after God called you home. 

Our boys are men now. They’re still figuring out their purpose and direction in life, but they have more now than they did in the past. They too have been on a journey of learning who they are and what they want out of life. I know you’re proud, because I sure as hell am! Lord knows they have fallen and will again, but I continually remind them that if they can carry themselves through the muck, donning their blood, sweat, and tears along the way, then they can do anything. I pray for their health and well being every day of my life. I pray they find love of a good person. I pray for our grandson, and the grand children I haven’t met yet. I continue to pray that they are fortunate enough to experience the love we had, and find happiness. However, as long as they are happy with themselves and in their lives, they don’t have to have a partner to achieve this. Still, it gives a mama reassurance to know their child is loved and taken care of. Our children were blessed to have had you in their lives as long as they did, however brief the moment was. They were blessed to have the exemplar parent they had in you, because they will always know what a good father looks like. They will always have it in their heart to raise men of decency and excellence, because they were raised by it too. Not to say they’re not fallible because we all are, but they’re equally as blessed to have witnessed what it looks like to never give up. You taught them that! Together, we taught them love, kindness, resilience and strength. In many ways, I tend to resent the amount of strength we all learned as a result of your passing, but it was a valid lesson nonetheless. I’m here to tell you that on your birthday, your sons have grown and developed into good young men! You are massively missed and deeply loved. Happy birthday Jason!!!