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Teri's 43rd Birthday :)

Happy Heavenly Birthday, Teri! She would have turned 43 today. A day of celebrating another year of life made it rather difficult to get up today. I let the alarm go off for about 10 minutes, feeling pretty sad that it's been over a year and she's really not here. I really wish we could celebrate today Teri in person. Mayo feels the same way as he's been barking all morning (probably because I haven't taken him out for a walk yet). It would have been a great day to take off to celebrate another year of life on this earth.


While I remember Teri every day, the days I'll be extra intentional about remembering her will be:


Many have asked about my plans for today. Instead of a party like we had on 4/2, I'm going to take it easy and remember her mostly on my own through writing this post about her previous birthdays. Definitely not as easy as being busy with people, but still good for me since I love documenting everything. Feel free to share any memories of her in the comments!


April 2017


Teri's trip in April 2017 was her first time meeting my family. I'm thankful for Edwin and Alex to host us at their apartment with yummy food and cake:

Happy 36th Birthday Teri!


This reminds me of what my Mom said a few days ago that made me smile. She said that when she first saw Teri's photo, she immediately "approved" of her. Probably because she knew she was out of my league and she wanted her son to get a great deal on a future spouse. I definitely did. Hopefully that she could have a similar reaction in the future if God brings someone new in my life and I send her a photo.


After celebrating in California, she returned to Atlanta without me and celebrated with her small group. Seeing these photos make me happy since it reminded me of how loved she was by her Atlanta family:


April 2018

This year, Teri and I didn't celebrate together. On 4/1/18, I did take a photo at home with Daddy Eddie and Mustard. This photo made me smile since Teri was nice enough to let Mustard stay with us while she was In Atlanta while she was moving out.

Good to know that Teri, Mustard and Daddy Eddie get to hang out in heaven


We got engaged in 2017 so in anticipation of moving to California after our wedding, she decided to move to her brother's new house. This was another reason why it was easier of Mustard stayed in California during the move. I learned today while looking through her photos that she took the time to digitize her cards:



I took the time to read the cards. One birthday card stood out to me:


4/12/24 Happy Birthday Sweetie! I still can't believe that I first met you at the singles gathering on March 9th. It feels like I have known you forever. I'm looking forward to being a part of life and your transformation. Although your transformation is simply bringing out the real you that has been there the entire time. I'm looking forward to dinner tonight at J. Alexanders and also to whatever adventures the future may bring for us. Love, Jason (Teri's ex boyfriend)

I'm thankful she saved this card. This card reminded me about my own transformation I'm going through and am privileged to document some of it here on Muir Rock. Reflecting on everything this past year feels like the "real me" is coming out. What I've learned recently is that I've spent a lot of my life changing to please people like Teri. There's nothing wrong with that, especially when she was my wife. With her no longer around, I have a lot to process on what does life now look like to ultimately please God, knowing that not everyone may agree or be happy with the decisions I make in the future.


Reading the rest of the cards was difficult. I also shared some photos with the people that wrote the cards, knowing that it's okay to feel these memories together, as if they were yesterday. Knowing that she saved all these cards made me feel a bit better that like me, she was also a sentimental person.


April 2019


Erwin's favorite part of today's post: Here's a cute video of Teri celebrating in 2019. Teri always made it a point to be back in Atlanta for her birthday, and the first year of us being married was no exception. I guess I didn't fly back with her this time around.



Not sure how to put this, but this video makes me happy since it shows how proactive she was in celebrating her birthday.


April 2020


The year of Covid made celebrating her birthday and everyone else's birthdays more difficult. Thankfully we have technology to bring us cute bitmojis:


Her birthday also fell on Easter in 2020. Christina that sent us some cupcakes:


We also had a small celebration at Melody's house, nice to see people in the middle of the pandemic:



April 2021


In January 2021 we moved to Irvine. Looks like we celebrated her birthday with Emilyn, Melody, Minna, and Emilyn that year. I guess we were still using a folding table in the living room:


Sprinkle's Cupcakes & Chantilly Cake, my favorites!


April 2022


I'm most thankful that Marie was able to fly out to California to spend time with us in 2022. We were able to celebrate all week! My only regret looking back at these photos is that I wish I also took the day off and hung out with them at the Getty and Santa Monica instead of go to work:



Actually, it's OK that I didn't take the day off. It meant that Teri and Marie got to spend 1:1 time together, and that's okay too. I don't really like going to the beach (unless I get to swim) and definitely don't like going to museums, so probably better that I didn't go.


Now how are you feeling?


Terrible was the first word that came to mind, probably because I also need to rush wrapping this up. I guess no surprise when birthdays are a time to celebrate life on this earth and that's what I'm trying to do right now, even though she's not here. Here's a reminder for myself from the archives:

 "If some of your memories are still very painful, let yourself experience them anyway. Don’t try to run away from them-as if you could. Just like difficult feelings, the best way to take the sting out of painful memories is to recognize, accept, and express them. Share your memory with a trusted friend, talk about your feelings as they surface, and let your tears and emotions flow. You may need to talk about the painful memory-and the feelings it stirs up-more than once. Each time, it will lose a little of its power over you." - Kenneth C. Haugk, Journeying Through Grief

I'm usually pretty happy and having fun with writing posts like these, but this was difficult. I'm a bit relieved that I made it through this post and now it's time to start the workday and get busy. I'll probably write more on Sunday.


Thanks for reading and watching the videos, along with your messages, prayers, and continued support from near and afar. Have a great rest of the day and weekend!


Erwin


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Those birthday videos are so sweet!! So thankful for the ones you were able to celebrate together. It's often painful to look back at good times because we're tempted to think things won't ever be that good again. Helps me so much to remember that eternal celebration awaits those who are in Christ!

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I loved seeing Teri’s birthday celebrations. Great job documenting them. I really was touched by how special Teri appreciated birthdays. I want to appreciate them more because it is a special day and makes people feel so loved and special. Really beautiful videos.

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Happy Birthday in Heaven Teri 🙏 Prayers and Hugs Erwin. Days like today are so hard! But what a wonderful way to share and remember her and her birthday celebrations with this post.

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