Happy Birthday Toba; Happy Birthday. It’s been so long since we last spoke I barely know what to say. You are present everyday. You affect our conversations in so many little ways-your laughter is a soft wind that blows soothing sounds into the love and light I share with our mummy. Your stoic silence reminds us to remain strong as we face the path ahead knowing you are not there-but you are at the same time-in our thoughts, our words, our decisions to move forward-you urge us along.
Happy Birthday. This time last year was a mixture of poison and pain but purpose spoke the loudest when your gift remained through the words you have enabled me to speak, through your ability to still reach beyond the divide and provide laughter in our beings.
Happy Birthday. I hope you are enjoying yourself up there-I know your love for music was always the strongest-it would pound through your ears, through those earphones that were your permanent fixtures as you stared-into the distance-dreaming, thinking, planning, believing and walking confidently ahead.
Happy Birthday. I remember your smile the brightest-it was a signal for mischief we shared-whenever your serious but steady demeanor broke into a reverie of anticipation-your smile was the blare-it would shine through the darkness and melt my fears. You always had the ability to do that-to remind me who I was when I would forget, to whisper wisdom when I was unsure of who I was-you gently focused my stare.
Happy Birthday. This would have been your 22nd year-what a joy it would have been to see you grow even more sure in your determination to bring dreams forth. Your broad shoulders that remained steady through the storm. That confident clean walk you had that could stop any daunting fears from coming forth.
Happy Birthday. As I write these words, I remember our conversations back home in the comfort of the couch we spoke-you showed me so much hope-such fire lit your steps it made me afraid for your safety as you ventured ahead. And you had such an aura it could tense the air-it was a palpable presence that seemed to draw people near. I remember its share force-it came before you walked into the room-it announced your presence so clearly all eyes focused on your steps.
Happy Birthday. I remember now, yes I can see, through the misty film of the past, your colours blare clearly. I remember how you would speak-quiet, confident and sure-certainty wrapped itself around every word. I was terrible at defending myself when we fought with words-your edge was sharper than mine and had an instinct about it that blocked each clever clap back.
Happy Birthday. I miss you. Mummy does too. Two years since you left-a lot has changed in your absence. I mean, I know you are here-I feel you everyday when I speak and share-I feel you in my actions, my words and movements. But when I lost the ability to reach you-and for you to reach me-when we lost the ability to hold each other tightly as family-is when reality shifted.
Your presence that spoke so powerfully into the environment had lost its essence. The hopes of the future you so colourfully painted and shared with my eyes and eager ears broke into darkness and even then, I could feel your concern-you were afraid of the cost of your departure-you were right; it was very dear-a heavy weight that nearly crushed us with its full force-we broke down in a state that is deeper than tears. And mummy, well she survived that storm-you will be proud-she remained so strong even though the death blow hit her squarely in her heart where you belonged.
But Toba, I want you to understand-today is your birthday-and we are grateful you were born. We are grateful your light shone brightly through each and every storm. We are grateful for that beautiful laughter that decorated our lives. We are grateful you lived your life. We are grateful for each shard of the past that represents the memories we have.
Happy Birthday. I am honored to be your sister-I am honored to call you friend until the very end-I am proud of the man you were-your heart was always laid bare. You were true to yourself, you cared for others, you were determined to share yourself and to the weak you provided strength; so today I celebrate your life.
Happy Birthday Toba-today we choose to smile. I see you so clearly and yet I see you barely but I will always remember that smile-the way you chose to live your life-determined to succeed; determined to embrace destiny. And now you dance in eternity.
Happy Birthday Tyler Hendrix Fray-until we meet again-the journey unfolds unto a path of hope-lit with your smile, your confident gaze and that steady walk accompanied with wise words-I face forward. We miss you. We love you. We will never forget you.
Happy Birthday Toba-from your sister, your friend, your advocate always-I carry your memories, our fights, laughter and tears-I carry it all in my heart as we move forward-you still live on woven into the details of our hearts that spring forth when we correspond.
Happy Birthday. We love you-forever and always.