It may be Vanessa’s 32nd birthday but that’s not how we look at it. Today is her first birthday. It’ll be her first birthday that involves a trip to the cemetery to be with her son. It will be the first birthday that tears will be streaming down her face as we sing Happy Birthday to her. It’s the first birthday that Charlie won’t help blow out the candles. This whole year has been and will be filled with the wrong kind of firsts.
And this is when the anger starts choking me out. When I look at Vanessa on a day that is supposed to be filled with joy and happiness and all I see is sorrow and pain. It’s when I ask her, in vain, what she wants for her birthday and all I get in response is an empty stare behind watery eyes. It’s when I look into Danno’s eyes as he’s falling asleep in my arms and all I can think about is Charlie. It’s every morning when I walk into Charlie’s empty bedroom. It’s when I’m crying my eyes out walking Danno to daycare. It’s when I filled the pool up for Danno yesterday. I get choked up. The tears flood my eyes. I start shaking. I want to explode.
Take a breath. Wipe the tears away. I need to remember. Charlie loved all of you. Charlie loved Vanessa. Charlie love Danno. Charlie loved me. Life is about love, not anger. As corny as it sounds, it is true: All you need is love. Love. Love is all you need.
Vanessa, if you’re reading this, know that I love you more than anything. You’re an amazing person, outstanding wife, and phenomenal mother. Happy Birthday. Thank you for helping me through this. We will keep love in our life. We will be just as good of parents for Danny as we were for Charlie. We will never forget Charlie. We will persevere. I love you.