“Hope your birthday is a good chance to see how far you have come, and look ahead to what the next year might be too!” ~Robin

In September, I turned 28 years old.

My birthday weekend was unlike the previous two. In 2010, my birthday was six months and a week after losing Greg. I really don’t remember that birthday much. I remember having dinner with my mom and a few people who were my friends at the time. I remember being overwhelmed trying to manage everything and be the “hostess” and try to “have it all together,” trying to make sure that I appreciated each person who was there, that I was “in the moment” and each person felt loved.

Even though some of us are no longer friends, I am very thankful for each of them for being there for me on that “first”.

Last year, my mom and I had a girls day that included shopping and eating at the cheesecake factory, where I had a slice of red velvet cake — a delicious bonus! Extra yumminess! I was still having a difficult time. I was more aware” and present than I was the previous year but still not all there and not living. Even the cake didn’t taste right and it was not the baker’s fault. I was still deep in grief and working through the healing process. I was still in many ways numb” and raw.

This year mom came for a girls day! We did a little bit of shopping and I LIKED IT. In fact, it was my idea. Mom never turns down shopping. The last two years she has dragged me shopping because I didn’t care. Nothing brought me interest or happiness. This year I suggested we go look at the new outlet mall about 20 minutes from my house. I even found some cute things.

Yes, I did just say “cute”.

Two weekends ago, Dad and I went shopping too, and that’s where I found some pants in my favorite color! And I tried on some sassy pink heels that I would have LOVED “before”.

While I had some highs this weekend, they did not come without some lows.

On my birthday, I went into “doing” mode and stayed “busy” working around the house, laundry at the apartment washeteria before heading out to church and then to dinner with my dad at a favorite local restaurant. I did take time to look cute this year, make up, hair done, my new favorite pants in that favorite yellow color of mine!

I had my good moments, but I also had my numb moments as well. Such is the life of living with loss.

On birthdays and holidays there is always that realization that comes with LIVING AFTER LOSS. This is one more birthday without Greg. That makes three birthdays that he should have been here for.

In this third year of grief, I have come to a new place in my journey. It has not been easy. Getting to this new place has taken a lot of pain, struggles and lots of hard work. Not to mention endless amounts of tears.

My 27th year was a hard one for me, the hardest so far in my grief journey. While progress has been made, I feel like I lost two years of my life. I feel like I fell asleep at 25 1/2 and woke up at 27 1/2. Where did those two years go?

Yet here I am. My hope for this 28th year of my life is to continue to rediscover life, to find joy in it, to embrace life and to live again, to accept where God has me in life and His plan for me and to continue to create my new normal. To try new things.

While I won’t stop loving and missing Greg and continuing to keep his memory alive, my hope is that I will continue to seek out the color and beauty in life amidst the pain and tears.

Life is a journey, God is leading me and Greggie is rooting for me each step of the way!

“Greg is looking down from the Heavens today smiling, knowing his beautiful partner is full of sunshine and life!” ~Patricia

Here’s to a wonderful 28th year of life!


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Brandi Reyna

Ms. Reyna is a creative soul with a passion for helping others. Her faith is very important to her and is reflected in her writings. She writes about her faith and the role it plays in her grieving process and how she grieves. Ms. Reyna's purpose for writing is to give voice to and shed light on unique losses. Ms.Reyna's articles focus primarily on building and living a new life after the sudden loss of her fiancé; the subsequent grief associated with sudden loss, her identification as an "unwedded widow" (a widow who was not legally married to her beloved), loss of a parent (grandparent) and creating a new life while living with loss. Ms. Reyna shares her journey to encourage others in their own faith and in their own healing journey. She hopes that by sharing her story and leading by example through her own life that her journey will show others that we can experience significant and impactful losses and still experience a full and joy-filled life after loss. Ms. Reyna holds a Master of Arts degree in Professional Studies with a specialization in Counseling.

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