Do you still celebrate a birthday as a widow? When I became a widow, there wasn’t an instruction manual. There were no rules about celebrating milestones after your husband dies, especially not birthdays. Birthdays are a “celebration of life.” What about when your person is no longer here to celebrate with you?
Survivor’s Guilt got to me. Should I still celebrate my birthday in New Orleans? I know what my husband would say. YES! A part of me just didn’t feel right celebrating my birthday and “living my best life” without him. This wasn’t my first birthday without him, but this was the first birthday that I consciously decided to celebrate as a widow. Birthdays were a BIG deal for us. The planning would begin early. Trips booked. Dinner reservations made. Flowers ordered. Spa day booked. He “understood the assignment” before it was given. Of course, I couldn’t let him down.
So, now that I had made the decision to celebrate, what was I going to do in New Orleans? We were still in the middle of a pandemic with high cases AND Hurricane Ida had just blown through the city. Local businesses were still working through logistics to reopen. Power was just being restored to neighborhoods. My dinner reservations were canceled because the restaurant was not going to be open. The spa was closed on my birthday. There was a 90% chance of rain and Tropical Storm Nicholas was headed or way. This was NOT how I envisioned it. You know what they say about making plans…
I decided to still take my vacation time off and celebrate the ENTIRE week, because using your PTO is self-care. I deserved to celebrate all of my WINS. 41 was tough. As if losing my husband wasn’t enough, then came the pandemic. This is HOW I decided to show myself some love and appreciation.
Wednesday: Drinks & Dinner at Arnaud’s French 75 Bar
Thursday: Brunch with one of my Best Friends at Apolline
Friday: Spa Day at the Roosevelt
Saturday: Tea at Windsor Court
Saturday: Drinks at Chandelier Bar
Saturday: Relaxing Bath & Great Night’s Sleep at Four Seasons
Sunday: Champagne for Breakfast in Bed and Miss River
Widows, I just want you to know that it is OKAY to celebrate life. Celebrating does not mean that you have forgotten about them, nor does it mean that you aren’t grieving. Yes, you can grieve and still be happy. I made sure to incorporate things that we both loved and enjoyed in my celebration. I even wore his Saints jersey!
How will you embrace your next milestone?