Day 499: 50th

Today should have been his 50th birthday. We should have had cake and pork chops and a huge party to celebrate half a century on the planet.

We would have worn black and teased him about what was left of his graying hair.

We would have sung off key and too loud and ended the song with “and Scooby-doo on Channel 2.”

We would have watched him open presents and laughed at the gag gifts.

We would have danced in the kitchen.

But we didn’t do any of those things. We had a normal, regular, pretty busy but not too bad day. I went to therapy and Taco Bell and wrestling. I talked about him just a little but thought of him all day.

I even made it all the way to nighttime before I cried. But when I saw his momma’s post, which included a photo I hadn’t seen before, I lost it for a few minutes.

I scrolled through my own photos and found the ones from his last birthday. They made me smile. He’d just come home from work. Abby had made a cake and we’d fixed all his favorite foods.

Sometimes I wish I’d known it was the last one, you know? But then, would I really have wanted to know? Would knowing have just made it harder? I guess that’s just a rhetorical question that I’ll never get an answer to.

Regardless, I’m glad Vance spent his last birthday around our table, with the family we had made, in the home we’d bought, in the life we’d built together.

I got to spend over half his life in love with Vance Crutchfield. I got two decades as his wife. No matter what comes next, I won’t forget that. I’ll always be grateful for our time together and for the unyielding way he taught me about love, grace and goodness.

I love you, Vance Crutchfield. Happy birthday, my love.

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