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Happy Birthday, Balky

Dear Balky,

Happy birthday. You would have been 47 today--I think, I can never really remember how old any of you are except Rich. We would have celebrated with your favorite overly rich chocolate cake and Nanny's dilapidated 4 and "Where's the stupid 7? Can anyone find the 7?" candles. You would have eaten the whole piece of cake and saved the icing for last, like you always did. I never understood how you did that. Just watching that ritual made me feel like my tongue was stuck to the roof of my mouth.

You've missed a lot these past 14 years. Babies, laughs, tears...many of them shed for you. Beth's kids are all grown up, and she is a grandma now: James and Dan have beautiful children of their own. Chloe and Katy are graduating from high school this year, and you never got to meet Peyton and Lily and Jinju. They would have loved to play "lump." I guess you see them. Maybe Papa told you about them.

Other things have changed. We moved, and now Nanny is coming to move in with us. Too much space and memories on Porter Street. Good and bad. She'll bring the good. Hopefully the bad will stay there and not spill bad karma onto any future residents. Porter Street is a mess, though, not sure how much hope we have of selling it. Although, we optimistically buried a St. Joseph statue in the front yard yesterday.

I still have the card you gave me the last Christmas you were here. I read it sometimes. You told me that Brad and I should cherish each other and the love we have. I wish that I had sent you a card telling you to cherish yourself, or telling you how much we cherished you. I wonder if it would have made a difference. I don't have the last note you wrote anymore because I don't like to remember you like that. I write that off as one of those notes that should have been written and never sent. I don't think it was meant for anyone to read, even though you may have felt that way at the time.

I try to remember you as the person I saw in my dream months after you died. You were happy and joking and smiling, and I like to think that's how you are in heaven. Cracking all the other angels up. I bet you are glad that Papa is there. Beth said one time this summer, when I had a rough day and too many glasses of wine, "Chris and Balky didn't get him for very long; it is their turn now." I guess. If I had my choice, you would all be here celebrating Christmas with us. But, I had to live with your choices and God's will. And I did my best. Still am, I guess, doing my best.

So on your birthday, and every day, I love you and miss you.

Love,
Lanimous

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