Today is the first day of June. Another month my Maddie won’t see.

June was supposed to bring Maddie’s first trip to the beach, her first time touching the ocean. It was supposed to bring another Father’s Day for Mike, pool parties, and swimming lessons. Now it is filled with the dull gloom of sorrow.

June is normally my favorite month of the year. Normally I’d be annoyingly announcing to everyone that JUNE! IS! MY! BIRTHDAY! MONTH! Normally there would be a countdown to the big day. Normally I’d be planning a huge party, because turning thirty is a big deal to someone who normally loves birthdays.

I just want to ignore the day. I want to pretend it isn’t happening.

It’s not just a new year of my life that I’ll be starting without Madeline…it’s a new decade without her. I feel like I’ve already lived dozens of decades in the last seven weeks and six days and yet, the idea of actually starting something so huge without her…my chest burns and constricts and it hits me all over again.

I won’t get a birthday kiss from her.

It’s the only thing I want, the one thing I yearn for. The one thing I can’t have.

Normally I can’t wait until my birthday. But, nothing is normal anymore.