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What is a birthday?  A birthday is the anniversary of your birth which is celebrated with loved ones; with a cake, gifts and a celebration.  My birthday is the 17th December. So far I have had the privilege of experiencing 53 days which have commemorated the day of my birth, with tomorrow being the 54th. Then in 2004 something happened that made my birthday so much more special.  A man called Seth Goodburn who had asked me to marry him decided that the best and only birthday present I could have on my 40th birthday would be him. We decided that we would get married on the 17th December. So many of my birthdays have been filled with joy, love, excitement, sharing and being with the people that I love, and for nine of those birthdays there was also the celebration of marrying the man that I loved with all my heart; the man who was my soul mate. But now it’s not quite the same and it hasn’t been since 2014 when I turned 50. A birthday I was supposed to celebrate but which came six short months after Seth died and celebration was not something that I felt like doing. What was there to celebrate?  A future alone, a future without Seth, a future where I never heard his voice again, where is never saw his face, where I never laughed in quite the same way…. A future that didn’t seem like it was worth being part of.   Sometimes birthdays are described as a rite of passage, milestone birthdays like 13, 16, 18, 21, 30, 40 and 50 but sometime people don’t meet those milestones or those rites of passage. Seth died 4 months before his 50th birthday; he never had the experience of celebrating the 50th milestone. Even though our 2014 calendar (saved in a memory box) had an entry on his birthday 8th October saying “Shit!!!!! I will be fifty”  and for my birthday it said “ Shit Les you will be fifty too !!!!! Happy Anniversary xxx” My rite of passage has been Seth’s death. Whilst he was part of my life for 28 years and he taught me so much about love, compassion, being kind, fair to people and always seeing others perspectives, it was his death that has taught me the most. When he died he taught me the agony of loss, the torture of grief and the despair of wanting so much to be with him, when he was forever gone.  I learned to find the determination to get up every day when I just wanted to hide away in corner and to see and speak to no one. I learned that fulfilling Seth’s wishes around end of life care and awareness of pancreatic cancer would help me move forward and build #sethslegacy of which I am so proud.  Seth gave me that gift too. So today I am happy, sad, heartbroken, proud, determined, grateful, focussed, but today more than most other days on the eve of a birthday and wedding anniversary I feel very alone.  Tomorrow my 54th birthday and  our 14th wedding anniversary I fear I will feel the same but I have also learned you can never predict how you might feel, so as I have learned I will just go with the flow and see what tomorrow brings. I really don’t need birthday cards or presents and it would be great if you could support @pancreaticcanceruk to raise some funds so that we can continue to raise awareness of pancreatic cancer via the @pancanstory. Any amount will make a difference to people affected by pancreatic cancer and it may give someone a chance, a chance that Seth never had. Seth I will love you with all of my heart forever.