Heaven does not have visiting hours or a way to send letters but if it did, here are some things I would say on your birthday, Dad.
1. This One Hurts The Most.
It is your first birthday in Heaven and it is also the first time I will not be able to watch you blow out candles. They say milestones hurt and boy, they do. It is the first birthday I will not be searching for the best birthday present ever. I remember your last birthday, I got sound waves of all of us kids saying "I love you, Daddy." And wow, the smile on your face when you opened it lit up the whole room.
2. There Is No Way You Can Send A Birthday Present To Heaven.
Stores are having sales left and right of your favorite things and I have to stop and think, "Heaven does not have a mailing address, I can not send my favorite person a birthday present." It is like a thousand knives got shoved into my chest. I want to get you more tools, more hats, more flannels, but I can't. I want to run into your room with a box of your favorite things and your favorite flowers in my hands but I find myself stuck in a place of distant reality because I can not do that anymore. Instead, I will wish upon a star that you will receive my love all the way to Heaven.
3. I Think Of Our Last Conversation Frequently.
I remember you coming home in the ambulance and saying "I saw Jesus!" and I thought you were full of crap, that it was just another one of your stories you would tell for a reaction. Now, I find myself believing you. You said Jesus said you have two weeks to say goodbye to us, you said Jesus said I was going to be an amazing social worker, I thought you were lying. That was until you passed two weeks later. I got into my dream college and now I am about to start my double major in the spring. Dad, you saw Jesus.
4. I Hope The Angels Know I Am Jealous.
I hope the angels showered you with gifts and God gave you a birthday cake and you blew out those candles and smiled your big smile like you always did. I hope the angels singing was the most beautiful sound you have ever heard, after all, you are in the most sacred place ever.
5. If Heaven Had Visiting Hours, This Is What I Would Do.
First, I would get the first ticket to Heaven, I would run to where they are selling them. I will jump up and down with joy because, for the first time in nine months, I will be seeing you again. Next, I am packing a bag, I could not just stay for a few hours. I need days, weeks, maybe even months to catch up with you. When I see you, I am jumping back into your arms and never letting you go. I will meet your parents and say hi to your brother and sister again. Oh, you better be ready to give me a tour of the sacred place you are living in!
6. I Will Always Be Your Baby Girl.
I may grow up, but I will always be your baby girl. The daughter who cried at the mailbox because you left to go to work and I did not get the chance to say, "Have a good day! I love you." I will always be the daughter who was stuck to your hip. Just because you are an angel in the sky, it does not change anything. My love for you has only bloomed with time. I am still your little girl and you made me so strong.
7. I Hope You're Happy.
I listen to all of these songs about Heaven and how it is the most sacred place and how angels do not feel pain anymore. I hear the blind will see again. I hear the deaf will hear again. I could only imagine what that is like for you. Can Aunt Cathy see you? Are your parents there? However that sacred place is, I hope that you are happy and you are out of pain.