September 10th, 0245, can't sleep again. Get up, take a Calme Forte for sleep from one of the many bottles at my bedside. Sit up and think about reading. Windows closed, put in ear plugs and take some Yoga breathes. In my left ear I hear one word whispered and even feel a slight puff on my cheek, "Happy." James always slept on my left side. Tried to blame it on my breathing but it was much too clear. I wasn't afraid.
Before James died, who was an atheist, I asked him to send me signs if something is on the other side. The word happy was significant in several ways. That week, while waiting for my annual PET scan results, I was reminded of the fragile nature of my life. I started wanting to find a way to be alive and happy again. Twenty-two years earlier, during my chemo and then forever afterwards, James always said to me, "I was put on this earth to make you happy." That was his theme and most of the time he meant it.
After the whisper, I talked out loud to him. It is time to be happy, you want me to be happy. All of the loving people who still step forward with love, even though I hide and push them away, are being sent to me by you. Then I fell asleep.
That morning, I went for a swim because my amazing boss had given me the day off for my birthday. As I walked home from the pool, I recalled how James would be in a flurry starting September 1st, smirking, giddy and elated while planning to conjure up another Birthday Surprise to out-do his last grand scheme. I was the "Birthday Girl" all month. I would scoff and say to him that I like birthdays simple. Over the years, I got used to this treatment.
Then it hit me. James picked the word "happy" because 1. It was time for me to try to get back to happy 2. His mission on earth to make me happy was continuing although he was no longer on earth 3. He always HAD to be the first one to wish me a Happy Birthday.
James out-did every other Birthday with this one.