So yesterday was my 32nd birthday. Joel's birthday is exactly 2 weeks away from mine on August 14th. I always loved when August would roll around. We would celebrate my birthday for a week and then celebrate Joel's birthday for a week. Last year on our birthdays we had a brand new baby boy. Joel was going through chemo the second time but life was still filled with so much joy and promise for what was to come. Yesterday, on my birthday, I got a call from the funeral home to come pick up my husbands ashes. Devastating. It is amazing the difference that a year can make. All of my friends and family respected my wishes to not celebrate my birthday yesterday. I wanted it to be as much like any other day as it could be. In my mind there is nothing to celebrate. Joel was always the center of all our family gatherings, the one everyone wanted to talk to and the one always cracking the jokes. Without him is just total quiet and emptiness-no laughter, no jokes.Last night I was going through my side table looking for paperwork and I stumbled across my card stash that I had of old birthday cards, anniversary cards and sweet letters that I thankfully kept. I decided this was the way I was going to celebrate my birthday-with Joel. So I pulled out every old birthday card he had given me and wept as I read them. It was a hard day. I share this because I have always shared every part of our journey. From the beginning of our story the only way that we could have some kind of redemption was to hope that what we are going through could touch someone's life. We never kept any detail just to ourselves no matter how personal. Sometimes I would ask Joel "are you sure I should put that on the blog?" He'd always say "if it can help someone else, than yes." I don't know how sharing about grief can help someone but I hope it does. Maybe at this point the only person it is helping-is me. All I know is that there have been few days in my life that were worse than yesterday. I would give anything for just one more card from my very best friend.