We celebrated Nick’s 42nd birthday last week. It was a glorious day. The weather was perfect.
Nick was doing great that day. His subclinical seizures seemed to be at a minimum. He was engaged and involved in all the party preparations. He received phone calls and video calls from people who couldn’t join us for a birthday party.
I took the day off of work. (I did work until 1 a.m. the night before to be able to clear the day!) When clients called on the day, I told them it was Nick’s birthday and that I would have to answer their questions on the next business day.
Nick wanted his party to be on the deck. It was incredible. 57 people joined us on our deck outside for dessert.
As I sat next to Nick and helped him open his pile of wrapped presents and gift bags, I looked around at the group assembled and recognized the great love and affection that everyone feels for Nick. It was an eclectic gathering. Not everyone knew each other, yet they all knew Nick. Often when people are strangers, there is a hesitancy to open up about yourself. We are usually more comfortable with those we know and don’t put ourselves out there. Not this group. People were introducing themselves to others, readily sitting down at tables with others that they didn’t know. It was awesome.
Nick is just like that though. He loves people and brings people of diverse experiences together. He is a great example of love and acceptance. He is always trying to introduce everyone to each other.
I haven’t always allowed myself to focus on the joyful memories surrounding Nick’s birthday celebrations. For years, the annual event was a reminder of all the things that I thought he was missing out on in his life.
This year was different. As I looked at this picture, the shadows of the lights from the kitchen seemed to remind me of the tidbits of conversations I had heard and the shared laughter we had experienced. These images floated to the surface of my mind and chased away any darkness of thought.
Even though everything was cleaned up and put away, I am grateful that the memories and the lessons learned remained.