A Non-Birthday Birthday

My partner’s birthday is Monday. I would love to plan a simple recognition for him, meeting is desire for a quiet, reserved, private celebration, as we have done for nigh some 20 years. He never was the type to want a party or even go out for dinner. He has no friends, so there’s no one else but me with whom to spend his birthday.

Back in the day…

…my partner and I rode two-up on my Harley this very weekend 18 years ago to the Atlantic Ocean resort town of Ocean City, Maryland. I had made reservations in a quiet, quaint high-end boutique hotel. I arranged for a steak dinner with all the trimmings to be served in our private suite. We had a romantic and ride-filled weekend at the beach. It was wonderful.

We have had other quiet but nice celebrations over the years, too. Once even in Vancouver, Canada, when he joined me at a conference at which I was speaking, then I treated him to a dinner cruise around the lovely Vancouver harbour. We’ve had some really nice times enjoying my partner’s birthday.

Even two years ago, my partner was “up for” being surprised. I bought him a t-shirt that reflected a private joke that he was training the squirrels in our back yard. Then I took him to try out a new brew pub that had opened in our county seat. We had a great lunch and he enjoyed sampling various beers. He rarely drinks alcohol, so that was a special treat. The smile on his face was evident that he was happy.

Last year was a milestone birthday for him, and he had an episode that was the beginning of our arduous journey of discovery of his long-term chronic illness. He was disappointed that he just turned x-dee years old and had no energy, no vigor, and severe dizzy spells, nausea, pain, and photophobia. And it went downhill from there.

Christmas was rotten. New Years was deadly. Sad Spring turned to sucky summer turned to awful autumn. 24 different doctors, 108 tests, countless meds and supplements, battles with his insurance company, guilt at not being able to be attentive to his 85-year-old mother… on and on.

He began feeling a little better a few weeks ago, resuming some of his usual activities and going back to work. But then… his birthday draws close and he goes into a depression again. He is angry that he continues to feel so badly and for so long and that all treatments he has been given have not produced a resolution to his suffering but for a few days here and there. He has asked me to ignore this birthday, and all birthdays moving forward. Okay, I get it… he doesn’t want to have some anniversary of aging remind him once again that he is feeling badly and recovery is not just around the corner.

So this year, I will not do any kind of celebration. However, I will hold him. I will love him. I will continue to show him how I love him with each action, each deed, each word, and every single breath I take. I may not say, “happy birthday,” but I’ll be damned if I will allow him to wallow in self-despair.

Yep, things continue to be challenging at the ol’ BHD/BB ranch, but we will survive. I truly have deep faith. He will get better — over my dead body!

Life is short: have a double birthday next year.

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About BHD

I am an average middle-aged biker who lives in the greater suburban sprawl of the Maryland suburbs north and west of Washington, DC, USA.

One thought on “A Non-Birthday Birthday

  1. If I don’t say “happy birthday,” then what do I say? Damn, I already sent a “happy birthday” card gently poking fun at getting “better,” not older.

    I wish you strength as you help my brother-in-law focus positively. We pray for his recovery.

    Ore e sempre,


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