62nd Birthday

Please forgive me this morning. I was going to go off on “gun crimes” or I had a real nice blog about the concepts of “rich” and “prosperous” that I was going to share with you this week, but today would have been my wife’s 62nd birthday. I suppose you’ll have to bear with me as these “triggers” of the grieving process occur. I’ll try not to do this too often, but after all, it is Deb’s birthday!

Please let me share some perspectives on some of her 40 birthdays that we shared together.

July 22, 1990: For her 40th birthday I bought her a Herman Miller Grandfather clock that still chimes on the stairway. Inside is a brass plaque engraved, “July 22, 1990 – Deborah K. Salyards”. While her 40th birthday wasn’t in any other way outstandingly memorable, the clock will always remind me of that day.

July 22, 2010: This was her saddest birthday by far. We got up about 5:30 in the morning to go to the Mayo Clinic for another day of tests to figure out what exactly was wrong with Deb. By then we knew it was cancer, but we didn’t know the specifics. It was a grim time for both of us, and a heck of a bad way to share her 60th birthday. I don’t remember the specifics about the appointments that day, but I do remember that it was raining cats and dogs, and was dark and dreary. The entire hour of travel from Winona to Rochester we never saw the sun once and it never quit raining. Neither of us said one word during that entire trip. I remember thinking, “Dear God, this is her birthday; can’t we get just a little ray of morning sun…just a little ray of hope?” It never came.

I’ve got a couple of birthday photos of Deb; one on her 21st birthday when we were newlyweds in Kansas, and one on her 35th birthday. I’m proud to say that I never forgot her birthday, although I did forget a Wedding Anniversary once.  Her birthdays were simple affairs, a cake, a card, and singing “Happy Birthday” while she blew out the candles.  On most occasions Deb didn’t get a gift; she had the family check book in her purse and would usually treat herself to something she liked.

I used to have to think hard about whether Deb’s birthday was on the 21’st or 22nd of July. This is because my daughter’s birthday is on December 21 and I would tend to confuse the two numbers. That changed in 2010, as every time you arrive for a medical appointment at Mayo they ask you your birth date. “July 22, 1950” she would say…again and again…appointment after appointment, month after month, year after year. I don’t know how many times she had to recite her birth date, but it didn’t take me long to remember it forever, as I will remember her forever.

Happy Birthday, my Debr….I’m going to miss you more than ever today!

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7 Responses to 62nd Birthday

  1. Laurie Leitner says:

    Don Deb had many beautiful birthdays thanks to you.

  2. Mary Nelson says:

    I have been thinking about her birthday approaching and wondering if you would acknowledge it in your blog. Once again your words of love and commitment shine!
    I remember the big “60th” approaching and Deb dreading the number. I think of her words to her Dr. prior to knowing what exactly was wrong with her and laughing about what age would be on her obit. if it was bad news. How perspective changes!
    I wish she could of had many more birthdays with all of us. But today I remember the joy her life brought me.

  3. Carol Barr says:

    Thanks for your memories – as difficult as it is to go through each day without her, all the days you were with her will always be with you. Lucky you.

  4. Beautiful tribute, Don. I wish Deb and you had about 40 more birthdays together.

  5. nicolelachapelle00 says:

    Thanks for sharing a few special memories with us, Don. I wish you and Deb had about 40 more birthdays together.

  6. Donna Bryan says:

    There will be many of these days, Don. It’s okay and normal. After that many years of marriage, you don’t shut off feelings just because Deb isn’t physically next to you.

  7. Dear Don. Just read your word about your love.We remember our visit in Winona very often and full of joice to had met both of you. Ken and Sandie were here. We had a great time. Also Deb was a relative for us, and she will be in our thoughts. Thank for sharing some of your memeries and thank for we also met you. Love from Evald and Irene, Denmark

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