Happy Birthday, Nick

Celebrating at big cousin Sal’s bday.
19 years old. Where does the time go? For me it stopped when you turned 13. For 6 years I have mourned your birthday even as I celebrate your life. You should be in your sophomore year of college, cramming for tests, meeting girls, having fun. Maybe you and Stephen would go to the same school. At least you could help him with the college process. Show him how to navigate the ins and outs of that dang essay and tell him to “Just get it done!”
Snazzy dressers and Nick always had some type of hat on.
He needs his older brother. But you aren’t physically here and it hurts. Each year October rolls around and the beauty of it all–the birthday parties, pumpkin and apple picking, watching the leaves change color–all the joys of our favorite season clash against the endless sadness and yearning for you. How can we hold so much pain and joy in our body and still live? If I let in all the pain of missing  you, I would split apart. The pain doesn’t lessen. I’ve only learned how to contain it so it doesn’t consume my life, my soul, my entire being.

Nick loved carving pumpkins–2007
When I get to my lowest point, when I don’t think I can stomach not having you in my life as I want, I feel  your energy–the essence of you. If I truly believe that you are with me, then how can I be lost? You are too important to be forgotten and you don’t let us go too long without making yourself be noticed. You always loved being the center of attention. You are still here. Your spirit, the mission that your life encompasses is too precious. My purpose on this earth is too important to let go, as is Stephen’s and your dad’s.
Nick with his godmother, Michele, cousins Marisa and Joe

 So even as I pine for you, break down in despair over missing you, I know that I will see you again. I know that you are with me–with all of us. And as we celebrate your 19th birthday with balloons and dinner, I will do all that I can to lead the best life possible. I will live my life with you by my side guiding me with the strength of your love. 

Happy Birthday to my beautiful boy. Until we meet again, I give you all that I am. 
Love, Mom

Nick’s 12 birthday and Stephen’s 10. They always celebrated their special days together. 

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