Today was Gabby's birthday. I went and found her a nice cake at Walmart which seems to be the only place open in Mississippi on Sunday. We had to decorate the cake ourselves since no one in the bakery department felt like working and everyone was on their lunch break. We sang happy birthday and she opened her gifts and that was great. After her attention was turned towards eating the candle off of the cake, it hit me. On this same day last year there were about 100 people at my house all celebrating my daughter's birthday. Now all those family members and friends are living in other parts of the country and could only bless her with a phone call if they had the new number. Now I didn't expect for every one of her birthdays to have a guest list of 100 people on it. I did expect that at least her grandparents, cousins and people like that would get to come over and play with her while she celebrates. I am thinking how I and the other kids in my family got to grow up around all that love and support from our extended family that kept us going and out of trouble. Things like that are the main reason why I will probably never move on from this event. See, I am one of those people that lived for the moments spent with my friends and family. I always thought that there were better financial and career opportunities in other places and that if I moved to another city I could achieve some of those personal goals. I never did it because the days I got to sit and smoke a cigar with daddy or listen to one of my grandfather's stories was worth more to me then a better paycheck. Now grandpa's dead and daddy is 4 hours away. Some friends have accused me of being pessimistic and focusing too much on the negative. They keep giving me all these reasons why things are so much better now and wherever they went is so much more cleaner and safer than New Orleans and all that kind of stuff. I might concede the cleaner and safer part but nothing is better as far as I am concerned. This might sound like a lack of faith on my part but my brain is just not wired that way. I don't see the silver lining when I am in the middle of the clouds. I can only judge something or someone for what I see at the time. Right now it's all bad as far as I am concerned. Later on down the line when things become clearer I may understand but for now all I see is negative and there is really nothing anyone could do or say to make me feel any different.
A few weeks before Katrina, I sat back and took inventory of everything and realized that no matter what was going on financially or how much I struggled, there was no place and no other group of people I would rather be around to spend my days with. I had just gotten back on track emotionally after my godfather and grandfather's passing and was feeling good. The things I did and the people I did them with could not be measured by any amount of money. I am having a hard time getting over all of those things and all of those people being taking away at the same time. I am not in denial. I know things will never be like they were again for me or anybody else from my city. At this point, I will take Missing Persons calling to tell me they have found my grandmother's body so I can lay her to rest properly. Maybe then my attitude towards the future and the present will change and I can enjoy the holiday season without getting so angry.