Grieving Personal Growth

A Letter on Your Birthday

It would be about a week ago that I’d have sent you something in the mail for your birthday. At the very least, a very excited text with a lot of caps and exclamation points would be arriving in your inbox. I’ve been writing to you periodically on Facebook, filling you in on things, but here’s the letter you deserve, if you could hear me from wherever you are.

Dear Christina,

Happy birthday! You’d be 32 this time around. Fuuuuck, that’s wild aye? It’s been nearly a year since we’ve last spoken. Can you believe that? I know people say it all the time but it literally feels like it was yesterday. The older I get, the quicker time seems to fly. I was so eager for it to do so only a few years ago, but I’m starting to wish it would slow down even just a little bit.

Last year was kind of a blur. The last time we spoke, I was only 2 months away from shipping off to New Zealand. You were so excited for me and all of the adventures I’d have there. We had planned to meet up in Australia after your treatment was over. I know that didn’t happen, and honestly, I went to New Zealand feeling completely empty. I thought I was okay, at the beginning. But I often felt sad, and I didn’t quite know why.

It was a confusing time. There were times when I was able to take a walk or just be present and feel so grateful and strong, happy to be alive. But in a moment I could be struck down with a melancholy so strong that I couldn’t shake it for days. I thought about how you weren’t there to enjoy it too, and I felt angry and guilty. Going outside helped. Spending time with my roommates helped. But it would always come back and I’d find myself still in bed at 1 PM, wondering where the day had gone. I couldn’t look at your picture.

You probably wouldn’t be surprised that I came back home. Classic me, blowing about like a tumbleweed. But part of the truth is, I missed you so much that I didn’t know what to do with myself. I sat down so many times, trying to write something to you, about you, the only man worth writing about. I’ve still got nothing. At times I think I’m intentionally holding back, because if I dive into all of my feelings about you, I may not ever recover. Instead, I just cried. I cried a lot. It got to the point where I was wondering how I could possibly continue to cry and not shrivel up from lack of moisture in my body.

I listened to a lot of songs that we had shared, mostly “Never Tear Us Apart” by INXS and “More Than This” by Roxy Music, which you had sent me on some playlists. I listened to “There Will Never Be Another You” by Chet Baker, which I sent to you when I found out you were sick. I’d take walks and listen to songs you had sent me, ones I had sent you, and everything in between that just reminded me of you, of us, and of the time we shared together through our lives.

Here are some things you missed the last 10 months:

  1. New Zealand is so beautiful and magical. Kiwis complain about the weather, but still go out and do stuff anyway. Respect.
  2. The American political situation is still shit, and I don’t know what’s going to happen. Brexit isn’t much better. Frankly, it’s unnerving and I don’t know how this is all going to play out in 2020 and beyond.
  3. Climate change is still looming over all of us. Nothing is really being done. I know you’d have words about this. Whatever, I say let us all die off. The planet will still be here long after we’re gone.
  4. Apparently Prince Harry and Megan Markle are leaving the royal family or some such thing. Honestly, who cares. I add this as something lighthearted, but really. Who. Cares.
  5. You’re missing a lot of good music and movies, I’m afraid. No worries though, I play and sing them aloud quite often, and hopefully, you’re listening from somewhere.
  6. I’m legally changing my name. More on this later, but my new name will be Asa Niamh Espanto. It’s got a nice ring to it aye? But you can still call me Samibear or Samuel. I will allow this exception.
  7. You’ve had articles written about you. Poems and songs too, I’m sure.
  8. Everybody misses you like crazy. If you can drop by sometime, please do.

This might sound weird, but I had this thought on New Years’ eve. I was sitting in my room, looking out at the backyard. It was just before midnight, and the moon lit up the big tree that Hunter has in her backyard. It made me think about how many times over the years I thought about how we were looking at the same moon, same sky. Even though it was cold outside, it was warm in my room, and the sight of the tree rustling under the bright moon brought to my mind’s eye the image of a beach.

A beach that is in perpetual night. But the moon shines so brightly that it never feels dreary. Perfect for you and your ghostly skin. It’s an island where people like yourself find themselves suddenly. The ocean is always warm, the perfect temperature, and it sparkles with waves of crushed diamonds. You can always hear the faint sound of wind chimes and there’s a gentle, balmy breeze. I think about your sky, and my sky, and maybe they’re still the same. Maybe we’re still looking at the same moon. And I wonder if maybe one day I’ll meet you there. Maybe I’ll be really old and you’ll still be hot stuff (you can count on me to still be rocking a bikini at any age though). Maybe I’ll be younger, who can know? We can float in the waves together.

Thank you for being Beautiful and just Chris. One day I will rip off the bandaid and make art about you. I hope it does right by you.

I’m planning a trip to Europe for my 30th birthday next year. I wish I could stop by and see you, and that we could take that road trip around Scotland that we always talked about. But no worries, I’ll still be doing it, just with you in spirit. If I do spot the Loch Ness monster, I know you’ll be pissed that you didn’t get a chance to see it. Snooze you lose! But if it makes you very ornery, feel free to return from beyond the grave to let me know how you really feel.

All of my love, always

Happy birthday,


1 reply on “A Letter on Your Birthday”

Thank you..a lovely letter.. if only we could have him back with us. But he will be with you in spirit when you do your trip I am sure.
You must come see us when you are here. We have a spare room you are welcome to use xx

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