I woke up at 2:30am unable to sleep any longer. I'm not sure if it is jet lag or stress or grief - but I was smacked sideways until 6am, my brain on overdrive and unable to calm down. Thoughts of Ryan came hard and swift that next thing I know my nose is drenching my pillow in snot, eyes puffy and swollen.
I'm beginning to think birthdays aren't really birthdays unless they come with tears.
I couldn't get him out of my head. But instead of fighting it, I've found to accept it. Tearfully remember the shape of his hands, the unmistakable and infectious grin, his laugh and the way we would often get each other so worked up we'd be crying we would laugh so hard.
For my 30th birthday we went skydiving. They had a video option and we paid the extra $50 to record our fall. As the plane circled the Skykomish sky up to 14,000 feet, he sang happy birthday to me. And I have it on film. That was the last birthday we celebrated together, alive.
And I know, deep down, that having him fill my thoughts is just his way of telling me that he's still here. He still cares for me. He will always be there. But damn it, I miss him.
I still had an awesome birthday. It's been four years and my crows feet are growing deeper - not just from age but from lots of laughs since then. Lots of good times had and memories created with old friends and new. I raced my bike and got on the podium, stuffed my face with sushi, laughed hard with friends and ate chocolate cake. Oh, and it was 80 degrees. Pretty sweet if you ask me.