Today was a day of celebration, remembrance and sadness as we found ourselves trying to spend Rene’s 50th Birthday in a way we thought she would have enjoyed.
This morning we woke up, packed the car with our two children and Max, our 3rd “child for a day” then waited until the familiar Blue Rav-4 pulled up outside our house. Except this time it was different, the car was dirtier then Rene would like, and she did not get out and greet us with her familiar bubbly smile. She always kept a car duster on hand, swiping the odd grime from the hood before leaving, taking pride in the shiny little SUV. But we felt like the car looked, a little sad, a little clouded, and missing that sparkle Rene brought to our lives. Cooper yelled Grandpa! As Chris emerged from the car and we quickly inserted a large coffee into his hand as he got into ours. “Happy-Hollow!…Happy-Hollow!…Happy-Hollow!” Chimed the back seat as our destination was revealed and the car thundered off towards the freeway.
Today we celebrated the way Rene always did….by making it about everyone else, not just her. The joy she had spending time with Cooper and Addison was always the best gift she would say, relishing every moment. So we burst through the gates of the zoo and quickly immersed ourselves in new rides, animals, snacks, treats, sun, dragons, bugs and a forest of slides and towers. It was a long day, but everyone left with a smile, having enjoyed watching, playing, eating and being a family.
Later we joined up again, this time at a favorite Sushi restaurant that Rene enjoyed so much, and it was too much. We all cried a little and felt the weight of her absence and toasted to her, our Rene and we felt her next to us, a familiar place, chair beckoning to be filled. We shared stories with Judy, Rene’s “Sushi-Sister” whom was always asking about us, had another round of Sake, and finished with ice cream at Cold Stone, a true birthday dinner that Rene would have loved.
We love you Rene, and as Cooper said tonight; “Mommy, don’t be sad, Rene is up in Heaven, She is having fun activities and playing like at Happy Hollow.” Thank you Cooper.
Happy Birthday Rene,