Special occasions are said to be most difficult during the first year. They are hard; you don’t know how to go about anything, you don’t know how it will feel, you miss them. So much.
The second year was almost more difficult for me though. It’s the second year when you discover they are really gone, and always will be. The second year I thought okay, she’s missing things now! That was the hard part.
The third go round feels different still. But, as far as I can tell, it brings with it a much greater amount of peace. You learn how to make them a part of things while they are absent. You understand a little bit more fully that they are here, and that happy occasions don’t deserve to be sad occasions forever.
On this, my “third” birthday, I wake up feeling happy and alive. Hopeful. She’s closer now than in the past two years, this can only mean bright things for years still to come.