So today is December 1st, 2012 – the official beginning of “Gina’s Birthday Celebration Month 2012”. Yes, I get a whole month to celebrate, which kind of bled into November this year, but that’s okay! This month long celebration is needed due to the fact that, as a December baby, I often was relegated to the ol’ “here’s your birthday and Christmas present!” bunch! It was admittedly worse for my brother Gary, born on the 13th, and I am sure others closer to Christmas have their own stories. As for me, Deana and the kids have always made it “my month”.
Last year was a bit different – Deana and I were blessed to be able to travel to Elmira, NY to visit my brother Joey, who had been moved from ICU into a rehabilitation center in hopes of recovering from his significant brain damage before the Stage 4 Renal Cancer took effect of his body. It was AMAZING to see him sitting up, feeding himself, and we even played chess! We had so many great conversations and I am very thankful that I was able to tell him how very much he meant to me and how hugely he impacted my life – how he was a huge part of who I am today. On that trip, Deana and I also took advantage of being in New York, which allows same-sex marriage, and we actually legally married on my birthday as well! My birthday was also the last day I saw my brother alive in person, so it was bittersweet but a fantastic way to spend my birthday.
Today, I have to say I woke up rather upset, remembering the highs and lows of this time last year. And it honestly broke my heart that my brother is no longer on this earth. Yet, I have spent today remembering that wonderful trip, the laughs and the tears, and also the many years and many memories we were able to share.
But it doesn’t stop there! In honor of “Birthday Month”, as well as this time last year, Deana took me to birthday present #1 – my remembrance tattoo for my brother at Scarecrow Galleries! I walked in expecting to only get a quote and perhaps make an appointment for another time, but Johnny (who incidentally is a chess enthusiast) was available and very interested in my idea of a tattoo. So, about an hour later the freehand drawing was done and we were ready to go! About two hours later, and not much pain on the way, this was the final result on my right outside calf:
I miss my brother very much, but this is a small way of remembering how awesome he was and how much he touched my life…..and to forever be a beacon to the fact that I owe him about a million chess games! 🙂