Another birthday has come, without him. Today would have been Kenneth’s birthday.
The kids have decided that they would like to visit him at the cemetery, go to the library, eat Curry House, and then cake. I cancelled yoga and swim classes for everyone and we are just going to hunker down at home. For some reason retreating into our home feels as close to him as we can ever get. Our house was his childhood home. He loved it so much, and it is where we spent the last three years of his life with him. The house is where we remember him trying to build garden beds, trying his hand at gardening (he wasn’t very good at it, but he tried). Our house is where he worked on his magic stand, and where he sat in the kitchen practicing his tricks. It’s where there are pictures of him as a small child on a playset in the backyard. His childhood room still has a closet with his writing inside of it, listing the names of girls he liked and songs he loved. In the garage, it still has his 5 year old scrawl spelling “Kenny” on the wall. (He really, really liked writing on walls, apparently.) The house is where he spent time in the kitchen juicing. It is where we hosted many parties with him, like his 50th Star Trek birthday party.
The house is where he died.
And now, this house is where part of his ashes have been laid to rest in a biodegradable urn beneath a young avocado tree. This house is holy to our family, because it is almost part of him.
The kids watched Frankenweenie this past weekend. I noticed the way their eyes grew large at the scene when the dog comes back to life, all stitched up.
Eloise turned toward me. “I wish Daddy could come back,” she said.
“I wish he could too. But you know he can not.”
She nodded sadly. “I miss him.”
Ethan nodded. Him too.
“I miss Daddy!” Peter piped up, even though he only knew his father as a picture above the fireplace and the plaque on the cemetery niche.
We all miss him, and there’s nothing we would want more in the world than to be cutting a Marie Callender’s lemon cream cheese pie with him today.
Happy Birthday, Kenneth, wherever you are. You were loved. You are loved. For always.