When Happy Becomes Sad

Yesterday was my 38th birthday.

And it also marked another important milestone - it was the first birthday since 2013 where I didn't feel heartbreakingly sad through the entire day.

I wasn't always sad on my birthday - it used to feel like the most magical day of the year.  But then... my brother died.

And his birthday is the day after mine.  October 9th.  Today.

Once he passed away, my birthday stopped feeling like a celebration and started feeling like just "the day before Phillip's birthday." 

I didn't want to celebrate or go out and do "birthday" things.  I mostly just wanted to sit with my sadness and remember how magical my birthday used to be...

Growing up, my parents took the shortcut and ALWAYS celebrated our birthdays together.  While many kids might have hated this, my brother and I actually loved it.  It made our birthdays seem even more special. 

Different cakes, presents and friends but always celebrated at the same time sharing the same birthday song...

birthday crop.jpg

This photo is from one our last birthdays celebrated together.  Phillip was on his way to homecoming so he was dressed extra fancy that night. 

Phillip passed away unexpectedly in August of 2013.

And since that day, his birthday has always felt like a day of mourning.  If I'm being honest, it still does.


For the first time in four years, I found the space to miss him while also celebrating my own special day.

My mom even made it out to visit and we were able to celebrate my birthday together - something that hasn't happened in MANY years.

There were so many small and wonderful moments yesterday that I feel completely grateful for. And I will remember and hold them close to my heart.

"Right now, it's like this."

It's a Buddhist phrase I sometimes use for comfort. 

When things are good, it reminds me that all things are temporary and it encourages me to be more present and truly in that moment.

And when things are bad, it reminds me that all things are temporary and that whatever "this" is, it won't last forever.

If you're going through something that feels incredibly hard at the moment, I hope this note reminds you that the clouds will eventually break.

And if life feels pretty great right now, I hope this note encourages you to be present and embrace this moment so you may experience all of its magic.

- Katrina