The Soundtrack of My Life – 43- Traveller/When I’m With You

Today is my husband’s birthday. As one does with a anniversary of life you tend to reflect back on everything. It’s almost like climbing yet another peak and looking back to see where you’ve come from. For me, I’m more excited that I get to spend one more with him.

For the occasion I have added songs by Chris Stapleton. He’s been Charlie’s favorite singer/songwriters the last few years. For Christmas last year (or maybe for his birthday) I bought him tickets to see him in Denver, Colorado. The idea was to turn the whole thing into a fun road trip that would ultimately end with the concert. That, however, was ruined by my mother losing her ability to swallow and Chris Stapleton getting Covid prior to the show date. The journey ended up being a bust even though it was fun until it wasn’t.

My plan for this holiday I intend on buying him tickets, again, to see Chris Stapleton, but the bitch of the situation is all the ADA seats are sold out. Really? There are THAT MANY handicap people in the world? Odd… I don’t see very many people in wheelchairs. (That is an ignorant statement, by the way.) Stranger enough is that they all decided to convene at this one concert in Arizona. Sorry, I’m turning this into a rant and I don’t mean it to. The way people abuse the ADA options is mindbogglingly infuriating.

I chose Chris for the above reason (obvs) but also because these songs always make me think of my husband. At one time, before we knew his ALS diagnosis, we would frequent a bar downtown. I would inevitably commandeer the jukebox, playing all the mellow shit I wanted. I am not one to wait, and I will pay top dollar not to listen to some dumb song someone think “slaps” and kill my vibe. Every time I would play “Tennessee Whiskey” first and then, a couple others for variety, “Traveller.” When it would come on the speakers, my husband would gasp and look at me.

“Did you put this on?” he would ask.

“Of course, Punkin.”

The song below… I included it because it was one he “dedicated” to me. It makes me cry every time I listen to it. I would have put it at the top but, it hits entirely too hard. It’s also extremely depressing. Birthdays are meant to be fun! However, I would be remiss to not take this opportunity to share that one with you as well. The sentiment behind it is beautiful.

I really hate that I don’t remember the first time we got to celebrate his birthday together. I’m sure I did something shmaltzy as a gift and then ended up having sex, because aren’t I really the gift? I know I didn’t take him out to eat because I was a jobless, high school senior at the time.

I have tried every year since to make my gift better than the one before. Primarily because he always does so much for mine. However, I’m running out of options at this point. Next year I’m going to have to find a cure for ALS.

What makes everything even more difficult is my husband’s distaste for his own birthday. I think it stems from the stress he felt for his mother, doing it for him, alone, in his youth. It goes the same for Christmas. This time of year is always so stressful for him. He’s not one to celebrate. It wasn’t until he owned his own construction company and was doing well, financially, that he got into the Christmas spirit.

I had wanted to do another big birthday event like we had last year, but he wasn’t up for it. As he progresses he has found that people tend to spend more time talking and paying attention to him. He doesn’t like it. He’s never liked it. But with the fact that his speech has gotten to a point where people have a hard time understanding him it makes it even worse.

Tonight will be a small affair. Just dinner from one of his favorite places with our little polycule and his family.

I just wish I could think of something better than cookies and candies for his gift…

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