When we moved into our house, there was an old refrigerator in the basement. They don’t make ‘em like they used to, because this thing looks like it’s 100 years old and it still works without any problems. It's on the same floor where we walk out into the backyard, so naturally it became the “beer fridge.”
On Ty’s last birthday with us, so many people did so many incredible things to make him smile. In fact, we enjoyed “SuperTy” cupcakes from a local baker, a 3-tiered SuperHero cake with all of his beloved characters, and his favorite of all… a Max and Ruby Cake with a carnival theme. It was one of his favorite episodes, and he often talked about going to the carnival. In fact, he was laid to rest with his favorite Max and Ruby DVD and carnival tickets in his hand.
He died 13 days after we helped him blow out those candles. It’s still impossible to believe. No matter how quickly life goes on, how often I find myself smiling again, and how much I have accepted that he is never coming back, the unbearable weight of his absence will ALWAYS remain.
So if you find yourself enjoying a laugh amongst friends in my backyard and someone sends you to the beer fridge for another round, please disregard the birthday cake on the top shelf. Although the fondant Max and Ruby haven’t aged a bit… 3 and a half years have taken quite a toll on the rest of the cake that was once vanilla (I think) with cannoli filling. I can’t recall because only one slice is taken from it. I imagine we didn’t have much of an appetite those days.
It’s totally weird. I know this. In fact, sometimes I laugh at the cake whenever I am caught off-guard by its presence. But for some reason, I leave it. Lou leaves it. We rarely talk about it… the cake simply remains where we last placed it on October 4, 2012. Ty’s fifth and last birthday.
I was prompted to write about this today because when I was rushing off to work I noticed Gavin’s leftover mac and cheese in the backseat of my car. Ugh. Since it was 30 degrees all night and my car was covered in frost (unbelievable), I figured I should quickly throw it in the fridge. In my haste to catch the train I opted for the beer fridge. The cake, of course, caught my eye.
On my way back to the car I thought to myself… “It’s time, isn’t it? I should just do it. Pick it up, walk it to the garbage can, drop it in and don’t look back.”
But to tell you the truth, even though I’m ready and I think I could do it without crying, I kinda like having that rotten old cake around. At this point, it’s even comical to me. What an adorable metaphor for how broken we are, and how time…. in the most biological sense… certainly does NOT heal when you think about it.
I cast my vote for one more summer of yelling “disregard the cake” as others unexpectedly find themselves staring at the decomposing leftovers in the beer fridge. And if you try to make me feel better by explaining how time heals, I might ask, “Have you seen my cake? Because time certainly didn’t do any favors there.”