Remembering Doria

One Father's Journey after the Death of his Daughter

A Whole Different Birthday


Well, Zoe didn’t choose to come today, so I didn’t get the birthday present. that I wanted.  This was still a much better birthday than last year.

Last year, it was just a couple of days after leaving the hospital empty-handed. I just checked on Facebook, and this was the day that Becky and I started to taste food again. That was a pretty happy gift. I never really knew that you could lose that ability right away like we did, but you can. It’s interesting to eat food without tasting, but it’s better with flavor. 

I’m not the biggest on celebrations in general. I tend to take every day like every other. I’m the most excitable boring person that I know, and I’m excited about being boring. Last year, we postponed any birthday plans because I just didn’t feel anything to celebrate. There just wasn’t any point to celebrating right after Doria died. It wouldn’t have made any sense.

At this time last year, I was “banned” from campus, or to use our department chair’s term, “suspended with love,” in order to take some time to heal. It was the 2nd day of the semester, and I was already feeling twitchy, so I went to my evening class just to see something normal in life. It was just syllabus night, but it beat sitting around the house. I misread the time and showed up late. That was awkward and welcoming with the people who knew me. For the ones who didn’t, they looked a little surprised that I would walk in so brazenly when I was late. That’s OK, because I broke them in over the semester.

This year, I went to campus for a meeting about this semester, and had some fun talking about the girl on the way instead of the one who went away.  I hate meetings, but this was fun. We’re a good crew. Now, depending on Zoe’s timing, there’s still a chance that the introductions at Monday’s lecture include the words “Now, for a lot of you, your T.A. isn’t here.” That was a good start last year. 

As a little family, we went ahead and celebrated with a simple dinner. We got the place to sing “Happy Birthday.” It did not inspire Zoe to come forward, so that didn’t work. The neighboring table was filled with ISU students. I assume that they won’t be my students, since there were women there. (I don’t understand it, but about 85% of my students are male.)

The biggest difference, though, is the waiting for Zoe. I’m sitting here on my birthday with expectations instead of crushed hopes, moving forward instead of smashed up against a wall. I like this way a lot better. Smiling and laughing beats drowning in Puffs Plus, even with the lotion.  It’s just nice to have an old-fashioned normal day instead of that huge surprise.

Now, if only the girl would cooperate to make it another whole different kind of birthday……..


2 thoughts on “A Whole Different Birthday

  1. Happy Birthday! I’m so glad it was a better day and can’t wait for Zoe to come. You guys and Zoe are like a lighthouse to us out here in the ocean of loss.

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