Today is the 22nd anniversary of Jessica's birth. Can I still call it her birthday if she's not here?
You know what sucks? Trying to buy a birthday card for a young woman who will never read it. Trying to find a birthday card that says, "I love you, I miss you, I'm sorry that your life was cut so short when it had such possibilities, oh, and yeah, it's your birthday but you aren't here." Hallmark could make a mint if they had that card line. Hell, I could write it.
I was holding on by a thread today in the store, trying to buy a card that I could take to her grave tomorrow. I have tried to look at the birthday cards days, weeks, even months before her actual birthday week just so I don't have to try to not have a meltdown. It doesn't work. I never can find what I want, and I keep thinking I'll keep looking and find the perfect card. Well, it didn't happen this year.
As I'm perusing Hallmark for other cards (a couple of weddings and Father's Day), I'm reading all these cards that say best wishes, hope your dreams come true, you have a bright future, etc. Yeah, not exactly the sentiment I'm looking to convey today, thanks. Finally, I find a card with a picture of a young girl wearing oversized sunglasses outlined in rhinestones, and on the inside it says "you're too extraordinary to have an ordinary birthday." That's the closest I'll find to the sentiment I'm trying to express. I take it, and head to the register, knowing I've got about 25.7 seconds before I go into meltdown mode.
I hand over the cards and ask for a happy birthday balloon. "Oh, those are in the back of the store, you can go back there and pick one out." Fan-frakin-tastic. Do you not see I'm teetering on the edge of a full-on crying jag? So, I head to the back, find a balloon, and pray that the helium is on supercharge because I'm not sure how long I can last. As I'm distracting myself from sitting down on the floor and sobbing, I hear the overhead music start playing Fergie's Big Girls Don't Cry. I had to laugh - it's like she's just screwing with me sometimes, you know?
Balloon in hand, I pay for everything, get to my car, and start it to cool down (it's 100 degrees here today, folks.) I'm thinking of a song I can post for her birthday, and the radio starts playing Tupac's California Love. I just have to laugh again, because we used to crank this song and just sing along - yeah, I know, we're white girls but dang it was fun.
I manage to make it home with only a minor crying episode, and then when I got home I let it out. Damn it, you'd think it would get easier but it just seems to get harder on certain days. I can ignore it for a while but when it rears its ugly head it knocks me down so hard.
As much I love Tupac, I think I'll share this song with you. I have always loved this song, and now it reminds me of Jessica, in the line about being a bird and wishing you could fly fly fly. When she was little she loved Forrest Gump and would do the Jenny line about "dear God please make me a bird so I can fly far far far from here."
Funny how you can look at song lyrics after something significant happens and think damn, that's exactly how I feel. Especially the line about being a "troubled soul weighted to the ground - give me the strength to carry on until I can lay my burden down."
You've got your wings now, Jess - fly fly fly.