You know the song. Everyone knows the song. It’s by Lesley Gore. Pretty much the only thing anyone knows her for.
It’s my party, and I’ll cry if I want to
Cry if I want to, cry if I want to
You would cry too if it happened to you…
It used to go ’round and ’round in my head when I was a teen and I threw parties that never quite went according to plan. My dad used to claim he’d met her once, that she was a sweet girl. And now that’s all I can think about.
It’s my birthday on Wednesday and for the first time since I can remember, I have no desire whatsoever to celebrate. I don’t want gifts. I don’t want a party. I don’t want a fuss of any kind.
I just want a day like any other.
And maybe I want to cry.
I know that people around me are starting to think that it’s time for me to shake off my grief, to get back to my cheerful, happy, gregarious self. But fact is, I’m not ready. And I don’t know when I will be.
I’d rather spend my evenings working or watching TV while playing dumb games on my iPod than going out with friends. I’d rather spend time with one or two close friends than a whole group of people. And I really don’t want to celebrate my birthday.
I have been on the other side of grief, watching friends suffer. I know exactly where they are, thinking that enough time has passed, that things should be getting back to normal by now. What I didn’t know, didn’t realize, is that sometimes things never get back to normal, that instead, a new normal is formed.
And that too is griefworthy.
Because what if along with grieving for my father and the relationship we should have had, I also have to grieve for who I was? What if I have to do all that work all while trying to figure out who I am now?
It’s all just beyond exhausting.
So, on Wednesday, I’ll bask in gratitude for the friends who are pretending to understand what I’m going through and the spouse who just wants to hold me while I go through it, and I’ll smile through my tears and try not to think about the one call that won’t come in.
Because it’s my birthday and I’ll cry if I want to.
Lesley said I could and I hear she was a sweet girl.