Skip to content


Tomorrow will mark one month since my son’s birthday, yet he continues to sing the birthday song…to himself. He started a few weeks prior to his birthday. Over these many weeks I’ve noticed how his rendition has evolved. Initially it was barely intelligible. Slowly his enunciation improved, and he even added in key parts like “Dear [his name]“. The most recent permutation has him singing an ode to one of his favorite things…”Happy Birthday Cake” instead of “Happy Birthday To You“. Normally I’d find this terribly amusing, but at the moment it’s too bittersweet. Today would have been my brother’s 32nd birthday. Instead he didn’t live long enough to see his 19th. And I find myself imagining my son singing Happy Birthday to his uncle…instead of to himself, or to cake. But he’ll only have a vague idea of who this Tom character was. Of the shadowy memories mom clings to. Of an uncle he’ll never know.