Today would have been the birthday of my ex.  Every year, as his birthday approaches, I plan things to keep me occupied but to also give me an out in case unexpected emotions/memories pop up.  The first birthday after, I felt it appropriate to get my one and only tattoo; the second I went into seclusion and tried to take the day on with breath alone; today I took a yoga class and hung out with friends.  And it was really quite nice.  I had a few moments when I wanted to tuck myself away and to hide but I didn’t – I found a way to breathe, feel the emotion, honor the emotion, but to stay connected to the world.

I took a Forrest Yoga class taught by fellow teacher and great friend ‘AD.’  Our intention today was to focus on feeling gratitude and joy during the practice.  And the area of the body the poses we went after were our hips.  Not too long into class, I felt my left hip “talk to me.”  More like it didn’t want to go into any poses where it was under any amount of pressure.  But I kept circling around gratitude and joy.  And allowing myself to be compassionate by backing out of deeper variations of poses.

As the class progressed, gratitude came along easily for me but it was mixed with a tinge of sadness.  I am so grateful I got to have ‘M’ in my life for 10 years; I’m happy he helped me come to terms with being gay and to know that loving another man would actually be possible; and I’m grateful I have so many memories – good and bad – that I can continue to carry with me.  But I miss him daily.  And while some days I miss him a lot, others it’s just a little, as though he’s away on a business trip.

I can say it easier now  – I miss him.  Even a few months ago, that phrase would be met with overwhelming sadness.  As I continue to work through my grief and the issues of guilt I carry, I’m learning that my missing him isn’t quite as intense as it used to be.  I miss my best friend.  I miss the other father to our bulldog.  I miss our conversations.  And I miss the way he said my name.  But with all of that missing him, I appreciate and love the fact that he believed I had wings long before I ever thought I’d need to fly; he saw a light in me first and wanted me to shine; and he stood for me, knowing that one day, I’d learn to stand for myself.