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Today is my sister’s birthday. It always has been. As long as I’ve been on earth. It was the first thing I thought of today when I looked at the date on the calendar to medicate my dog Kallie, per our morning ritual. (I sent my sister a card the other day and texted her this morning.) But there was something else about today that look a little longer to make itself known to me: it was fifteen years ago on this date when I first laid eyes on Ken at a little bar in Ravenswood not far from where I live. (In fact, I just celebrated New Year’s there with a friend, and it hasn’t changed much since the night Ken and I met there.)

Though our first meeting didn’t result in even a phone number exchange, it sparked something that ignited when we happened to meet there again a couple of months later in March (he kept returning, hoping to see me again, I would find out later). I wrote about our second meeting (and a little about our first) here.

What is special about today (aside from being my sister’s birthday) is that my first thought of Ken’s and my meeting wasn’t happy or sad; or good or bad. It is a fact–well, a happy fact, in fact. The past five years since he died I’ve continued to work through…everything…(including my share of survivor’s guilt) trying to reconcile past, present and future, as I mourn a life lost and nurture one anew.

I used to wonder if people thought I was hanging on the past when I speak of him or write about him or reference him. Of course I am! It’s special. But I don’t dwell there–as much as I sometimes would like to. Or as much as I may have in the past. I can’t help but smile thinking about that first meeting–stomach aflutter, eyes sparkling, words somehow falling out of my mouth when faced with incredible handsomeness and charm. It was meant to be. It’s those moments that stoke the fires of love and hope and dreams. These moments remind us that truly anything is possible and that wonderful things can happen just as easily (maybe easier?) as the things we fear–if we just…let them.


Also published on Medium.

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