Thoughts with Richard Bleil
As I write this, my friend is having her birthday. I was fortunate to have been able to meet with her not too long ago, but she lives far too away from me especially since she has become one of my best friends. But I did con her into working with me, so hopefully I’ll be able to see, or maybe video chat with her a little more often. But even though she is having her birthday, she insists that she wants to forget it this year.
She has come to believe that she, somehow, doesn’t deserve a birthday, something that cuts me deeply considering how much she means to me. She has driven me to keep trying, to take up photography, to pursue my writing and research, to get out, to play music and so much more. She is my emotional support and has shown me far more faith than I deserve. Of course she should celebrate her birthday, even if for us.
See, she is surrounded in love. Her children are all married and keep in regular contact with her, her siblings remain close because of her, she has countless friends, cousins, aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces, in-laws, and even former in-laws who all adore her and for good reason. Her birthday isn’t just a cause to celebrate her, but it’s an opportunity for us to all celebrate the day that she was born into our lives.
My former wife hated celebrating my birthday. She would tell me that she has respect for people who quietly go into their birthday without saying anything about it to anybody. If I never mentioned it, then maybe she might do something small for me, but if I mentioned it at all, on or before the day, it would result in a huge argument as she would stamp her feet and say things like “just because it’s your birthday, it doesn’t make you a king.” Her husband (a.k.a. me), on the other hand, would begin celebrating her birthday about a week in advance, with small things every day, gradually building up to her big day, and then I would continue the celebrations for about a week after so help the “let down” be a little bit softer. That’s because I was celebrating her position in my life.
I hope my funeral is the same way. I often joke about wanting to be cremated and having my ashes spread over some sexy actress or model, and was recently chastised for it saying, “not without her permission.” I honestly don’t believe anybody is in danger of actually having my ashes spread over them, but I would like them to be used to maybe fertilize a new tree. I doubt that anybody would even bother to show up to a service for me, but if they did, I wouldn’t want to be mourned. When I die, nobody will suffer a loss. It’s just the nature of life, and on my death it’s just the end of our time together, as nature intends it. Instead, I would like a celebration. I would prefer that people, if they should gather, laugh at the funny times with me, share stories of what I had done for them, and remember the Love that I do have for all of my friends. Roast me with humor, celebrate me for how I’ve impacted their lives, and leave my service feeling uplifted, with new stories from the others present to warm their hearts. That’s how I want to be remembered, and that’s what birthdays should really be all about.
So, to my friend, let me wish you a happy birthday. Thank you for being that little seed of delight when we first met and thank you for the mighty oak of a friend you have grown into.
My friends are all so very important to me, and I often don’t celebrate them as much as I should. When I was happy and had cause to celebrate, they were the ones who would get excited and happy with me. When I was blue, they were the ones who would open their hearts and lend their understanding to me. When I was hungry and homeless, they literally stepped up and saved my life, and frankly, I am not worthy of any single one of them. But I try, and as much as possible I try to be there for them although, to be honest, my friends seem to be far more stable than I could ever hope to be. For my happy and stable friends, I’m so happy for all of you, and for my friends in need, I’m with you in spirit. I love you all!