Mark’s twenty-second birthday. Our third without him here.
We’d been celebrating each year, since his passing, with a pizza party at our neighborhood pool, and that was certainly sweet and mellow. But I wanted to do something that would be a different kind of community-gathering…something that would be fun and also not too “scary” for the folks who wanted to be in touch but weren’t sure how to handle “This”…how to approach grief, a grieving family, much less their own processes.
An idea literally popped into my mind one day, about 2 weeks before his birthday, as I realized “Incredibles 2” was opening in theaters soon. We love Pixar movies, and the first “Incredibles” movie was a family favorite. Could we figure out a way to watch this new one, on his birthday, with a crowd?
I went online and typed in “Incredibles 2” and his birthday date. Two local theaters popped up, both with reservable seats. WHAT? They also recline?! Yes! One venue had 100 seats; the other, way more. Not a single seat was yet taken. I chose the smaller theater. It was a fairly simple effort, to simply create a Facebook notice and include the link to the reserved seating tickets. Within several days, we had more than half the seats filled.
In the end, we occupied most of the seats in the theater, and the entire evening made me enormously happy. Like one more bit of Heaven on Earth. A few days later, I lost a few steps…felt the sadness creep back in for a while. Reality can only be escaped for so long. You learn, over time, to stop occasionally…feel the weight, let it settle; then shift it around so you can start walking again.
I think Mark found it just as joyful and wonderful. A friend did find a dime under the dinner table – we went out for sushi with Beloveds beforehand (Mark LOVED sushi) – and so we took that as a “YES.”