Celebrating You!

Feb 08, 2023

He was turning eight on February 8th, 1968, wondering why none of us had wished him a happy birthday. We were just following instructions, but bursting from our little bitty seams, because we knew…we knew there was a surprise coming.

After dinner was cleaned up, my brother Jimmy was moping about, dropping hints about what day it was. Momma took him by the shoulders, hugged him tight and said, “Happy birthday, son!” That was it. Unusual in our family because Momma made holidays and birthdays extra special. I thought I saw his heart drop to his stomach…but still he smiled with those big brown eyes and said, “Thank you, Momma”.

She sent us to wash our hands and tidy our bedrooms. Calling us 15 minutes later for homemade cake and ice cream…and yes, a couple of birthday presents!

Just then the doorbell rang and this time, Momma insisted on answering it herself. One after another, our family members and friends filed in singing “Happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Jimmy, happy birthday to you!”

My little eight-year-old brother cried happy tears. I think I did too. He ran to Momma, threw his arms around her and thanked her. Then he thanked every single one of us for coming to his birthday party!

Fast forward to February 2020, just before the Corona Virus Pandemic outbreak. Jimmy’s family lured him out for birthday dinner to a unique western restaurant featuring an old western town and arena with family roping, bull and bronco riding and delicious cowboy cuisine – perfect for Jimmy and our family!

We were all waiting up in a special outdoor building decorated especially for his 60th birthday, overlooking the arena. I’ll never forget his shocked face when he realized that he was the honoree of this extraordinary event, and all these people were there for him! There were tears, not only from him, but from many of us.

Then…that smile…that didn’t leave his face all evening… made us all grateful we were part of this milestone birthday. He was grateful too, and he let each one of his guests know it.

Here it is, three years later, we didn’t realize he wouldn’t be here to celebrate this year. We lost him just a few months ago. It’s not easy losing someone you love.

I’ve been through this before…and I learned a few things. So, I’m training my brain to celebrate his life, the lessons I learned from him and allowing myself to feel how grateful I am to have had him in my life.

I miss him. The heartache is still there and I still lose it from time to time. I do allow myself to grieve…for 15 minutes. Then, I remind myself that he would not want me to spend too much time crying. He would want me smiling, living my life fully and moving forward. I absolutely know that.

So, I do. I still process my feelings in my own way. I think about the good times. How I know that he was my brother for a reason. How much he impacted others…and how much he impacted me. How his life mattered!

Happy Birthday, Brother! We’re celebrating you….even if you’re not here! Know that you made a big difference in my life. Know that you are missed and deeply loved.

And Friends, enjoy the moments. Look your people in the eye. Engage in life. Work through hard stuff. Give lots of hugs, and remember…

Love is ALL there is!




This episode was produced and marketed by the Get Known Service

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