I turn 62 tomorrow. This, in itself, is no big deal. Just a birthday, maybe a dinner out. Maybe an ice cream cone. Since my brother turned 60 last Wednesday, Mr. B and I decided to treat him (and ourselves) to a birthday dinner at our favorite little bistro downtown on Friday.
We were having a sad and stressful week, since a good friend had suffered an unexpected major cardiac disaster on Wednesday, was on life support, and was, Friday afternoon, being moved to another hospital to undergo bypass and arterial aneurism repair surgery in an effort to save her life. We planned to head to the hospital right after dinner (as we had every night), but tragically, while Char's surgery was successful, her heart was not strong enough to recover from all the trauma, and she lost her brave battle to survive a short time before we arrived. We miss her terribly, but I know it is going to take awhile for it to really sink in, and then we will miss her even more.
A thing that you learn about Life, and Death, and Loss, and all the rest, is that life really does keep on going, and it can, does, and should keep us going right along with it. It's our job, when we are left behind, to live out our lives, and to care for our loved ones and love our friends, and to honor the memories of those who are no longer with us by finding some good in each day.
Which leads me, in a way, to the surprise birthday party Mr. B pounced on me yesterday. A carefully planned, sneaky, giant bash of a surprise birthday barbecue for a person (ahem, ME) who has made it very clear that she hates surprises and never, EVER wants anyone to pull that kind of nonsense on her birthday. I am usually pretty savvy about Things Going On around here, whether I choose to let on or not, but I am here to tell you that I was so very in the dark about these big plans that I didn't even catch on when my sisters and mom, with whom I had spent the day shopping and Birthday Lunching, deposited me in my driveway filled with strange cars. I didn't figure it out until I was getting out of my sister's car and saw some friends walking up my steps carrying a present. And even then I didn't realize that my family had all known these plans for weeks. Wow. Am I totally losing my Miss Marple skills? Oh who cares. It was a lovely party filled with so many of my most favorite people from family, work and theatre. You haven't truly experienced the Happy Birthday song until it is sung to you by a choir of theatre mutts in multi-part harmony. It fills you with joy. I still can't quite figure out how Mr. B pulled it off, but I forgive him totally for breaking my cardinal rule of no surprise parties. I had a blast, and I hope everyone else did too.
Which leads me back, in a way, to the death on Friday evening of my friend Char. She would have been at that party yesterday. She would have found another hilarious crazy corny birthday card and handed it over, laughing along with me. She wasn't there, but her absence was a reminder that we need to be good to our friends, indeed to Be Excellent to Each Other, because you just never know.