On the 28th, she would have been 49.  It has been a difficult month for me and the family.  Mothers Day was hard, I could not talk to the boys without tears.  Then there have been the three weeks of counting off days to her birthday.  And now it is here.  In our family, we developed the tradition of having a birthday dinner, just us, and later we could have cake and such with others.  Of course, the birthday person got to pick the dinner.  She joked about picking all vegetarian food, as she was a fairly strict vegetarian, but it was in jest.  We got our steaks, she got her grilled 'shroom caps. 

To my boys, the famous Sons 1, 2, and 3, I remind them that she loved them fiercely, a lioness for them.  Let no one cross her line in the sand there!  I am glad to say "remind" because this love is ingrained and like structural timbers to their personalities, and they know this and always have.  Keep that to the fore, O Sons.  Daughter1, she loved you and was thrilled beyond words, as you know, to find out about Grandson1.  She delighted in having you in our home, one more woman to stand with in a house like ours.  We only can imagine how she would have loved your son.

I owe a life of thanks to my in-laws.  In-laws take a lot of guff, especially mothers-in-law.  I will testify that they had many more reasons to have qualms and doubts about me than I  about them!  Yet they recognized that I loved her and would, and they took me in as a member of the family. 

So I say Happy Birthday, my Bethie.  I am so glad we got to celebrate so many together, and I will sorely miss you on this one.  Perhaps  the weeks of fragility have been to let out the pressure slowly so the kettle does not blow up on this date.  Who can say?  I just give thanks to you, Gentle Reader, for your fellowship and support for us.  Thank you, O Lord, for who and what you gave me.
Whether you spell it April or Aprille, it certainly brings Spring to Michigan City.  The daffodils are blooming, the tulips have sprouted, the maple tree in the back yard is a-bud.  Until the seasonal allergies kick in, it sure is a beautiful time of the year!  

The birds are back, too.  We have plenty of grackles, and they cause me to wonder and watch for something.  If you look at them when they are flying, they turn their tail feathers to form a vertical rudder.  This is what I wonder:  Do all grackles turn their tails the same way?  Are there right-hand twisting birds as well as lefties?  I'm watching.
Today is the Feast of St. Joseph, patron saint of fathers and of others.  I had the good fortune to be able to spend a little time with Erica, whose labor tomorrow will be induced, and the happy result will be the birth of her son, my grandson, my first grandchild.  When my own son, Andrew, and Erica, hold their little baby, I know they will be glowing with an eternal light.  Everyone around them, family, friends, acquaintances, have such warmth to add to this happy event.  My own heart has its heaviness, as I long to see my Beth holding a baby again, our grandson.  But I must settle for the joy her eternal form has in delivering God's blessings on the three of them. 

Thank You, O Lord, for the unnumbered gifts You give us, among them the joy of seeing such a little thing as a grandson.  Pardon us our giving in to our weaknesses; grant us strength and wisdom to discern Your will in our lives.  I ask Your blessing on Andrew, Erica, and their baby.  Amen.
St. Valentine's Day. 
The bad part:  All the other holidays are family events, with dinners, hoopla, and lots of company.  This day is so specifically not a family event but one to note with your love; and even with others around, that unique relationship allows no other entrant.  In her nightstand I found a stack of cards and the little books of poems I had bought for her. 

The good part:  Love is resiliant and nearly inexhaustible.  I am happy that my son1 is adding daughter1 to the family.  We have your backs, kids!
As this year draws to a close, I find that I do not have the right words to express myself.  My head knows that the dates are arbitrary, my heart is full with the transition to the new calendar.  This year brought an irrevocable change, viz., the passing of my wife, Beth.  I am grateful for our decades together, yet my heart feels cheated.  I am rich, though, with my sons, daughter and grandson, family, with my friends in 3D life and e-life--both are real.  Thank you for so many warm and sustaining words this year, and the many laughs, too.  I wish the Gentle Reader peace in the New Year, the strength of a family's love, and the support of friends wherever one turns.  May God bless you and keep you.
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