Elizabeth Blue’s 23rd Birthday

is tomorrow. Saturday. January 12, 2013.

She left a lasting legacy of beauty.

And love. So much love.

I know her birthday will not always be so completely intertwined with sadness and longing, but I imagine it may always be bittersweet. Sweet with the gift of knowing her for 22 years, hearing her laugh, seeing her beauty, feeling her love. And yet missing her tangible, bodily presence.

I am gathering with my mother, sister, brother and close friend/godmother of Elizabeth for these days preceding and bringing us to Elizabeth’s birthday. I knew in my head and my heart that this would be, and is, one of these heart-breaking-open times, her first birthday without her here to celebrate in person. But we are finding ways to celebrate and honor her.

We’ve been planning our tattoos, my sister creating a heart, with 2 Es woven into it, just as she is woven into our hearts. Preparing a tattooing ritual in her honor, in sacred circle, with food, flowers, candles… We each celebrate and mourn in our unique ways, some quietly, some alone, some with beloved community, some unaware of what we do until much later – all potent and important, all seen and acknowledged by Elizabeth herself.  I know she is close by, I feel her presence today as I buy flowers for her, eat some of her favorite foods, walk in the Berkeley Hills with my mother, awed by the extraordinary beauty of this place, and taking Elizabeth with me, everywhere I go.

Happy birthday my beloved daughter. I trust that you are walking in beauty, surrounded by beauty, and feeling a radiance of love from all of us who knew you.

Elizabeth Blue and Lucia Maya

Elizabeth Blue and Lucia Maya, 2010

13 thoughts on “Elizabeth Blue’s 23rd Birthday

  1. Philip was born in January, too; the 20th. This past January was also the first birthday without him. I got a tattoo for him a few months after he died. He had tattoos, kept saying I should get one, that he’d come with me. I was reticent. I got a nose stud instead, I told him, ’cause I could take it out if I changed my mind. But when he died, I had a real reason for the tattoo. A rose, with his name. I wanted it as much for the pain as for anything else, as if they could scrape and burn the pain right out of my soul.

    So maybe they’re hanging out. I’d like that.

    • Yes, I hope they are! I actually enjoyed the physical pain of the tattoo on Elizabeth’s birthday – it was a relief from, and also intensified, the emotional pain…I also love the permanence of it.

      Would Philip have turned 22 this year? Elizabeth would have turned 23.

      I hope you are feeling more hopeful today.

  2. Natalie was 18 when Philip died. This was her second birthday, the one that really bothered me because of what I’d written, that she’s “closing in on him.” Like it’s another way of confirming he’s gone and not coming back. And every time I say, “He’s gone,” he pokes me. He isn’t gone completely, but he’s gone in the way I want him. But he’s quick to remind me that I’m more in touch with him now than when he was here. He has a point…

    • Yes, I feel exactly the same. I know I am closer to Elizabeth now than I could be while she was still here in body…and I feel her watching over my shoulder while I write this.

      • Would it by any chance be your right shoulder? ;o) But really – that’s where Philip is, always, behind my right shoulder, talking in my right ear. He’s reminded me, too, that he’s no longer an ego, so I might want to argue with him or be angry with him, but all he does is hold whatever I give him. It’s a blessing, and it’s calming.

        • Funny, it seems to be my left shoulder! I love his wisdom and the clarity of his messages. A wise young man, and equally wise mother – I love that you are willing to listen, and receive his messages, what a gift! I feel that I get to know Philip a bit more with each post I read, and this may sound strange, but I love him, at least as he is now, I can feel him and feel such love coming through him.

          • Lucia, I feel the same about Elizabeth. Between her writing and yours, her spirit comes through loud and clear, and I love her. That’s why I think about her often, that’s why I cry about her, as well as Philip. She just touches me deeply.

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