Today is David’s 35th birthday.
Or was David’s 35th birthday.
I can’t decide which is the right way to say it. It’s the sixth birthday we’ve marked without him.
On the first birthday, just five months after the accident, Bearhands suggested we get out of the house and have a round of golf. He’s an ideas man, my husband.
Since then, every year we’ve played nine holes of golf for the coveted Booyakasha Cup. “Booyakasha” was a word David used in celebration. I didn’t even know it was a movie reference until after he died.
The Cup is a bit fancy. The year I bought it, I told Bearhands that I couldn’t buy David any more birthday presents and he gave me carte blanche to have this beautiful trophy made.
We played yesterday and Bearhands and his mum Lynn were this year’s winners.
Yesterday our house was full of laughter and family and David’s friends. This afternoon in the quiet, after everyone went home, Max and I walked up to Uncle Davo’s hill.
I’ve learned that I can’t busy myself through anniversaries and birthdays. If I do, my body inevitably finds time to grieve at an inopportune moment.
So I sat there. Leaning up against David’s monument. Wishing the next car that came round the bend would be him in the red ute. Imagining what he would say, what we would talk about, how his relationship with the Big Sister would have evolved over the years.
The dog decided that the sound of Bearhands and the girls playing vintage video games in the shed sounded like more fun and disappeared.
Tears started to well, my nose burned, the lump in my throat made it hard to swallow. I remembered birthdays past. I remembered our childhood years. Most of all, I missed him.
The tears were really flowing when the sound of a light aircraft overhead distracted me. I looked for it, the sound was so close, but I couldn’t see it. I wondered if David was giving me another lesson in object permanence.
Eventually the Big Sister joined me on the hill and I told her stories of her Uncle David’s all encompassing love for her. And we both said how much we missed him.
These birthdays get easier, but they don’t get easier. And I still don’t know if today is David’s birthday or was David’s birthday.
Regardless, he is loved and he is missed. On his birthday and every day.