The Birthday List
Happily married to her college sweetheart, Poppy lived a blessed life with the husband of her dreams. Then everything changed. She is no longer a wife. She is no longer the envy of her single friends. Now, people look at her with pity as they whisper a single word behind her back.
Years after her husband’s tragic death, years of pain and sorrow and wishing for the life she’ll never get back, Poppy decides to finish Jamie’s birthday list. She’ll do the things he wanted to most. Because maybe, just maybe, if she can complete his list, she can start to live again.
Poppy expects going through the birthday list will be hard. She expects it to hurt. But what she doesn’t expect is Cole. Could the man who delivered the news of her husband’s death and shattered her heart be the one to help her put it back together again?
“That’s quite a list.” Cole nodded toward the journal in between bites.
“It is.” My smile faltered at the way his jaw hardened.
“Are you planning on doing these all by yourself?”
“Um, yes.” How else was I going to get through them all?
“That’s going to take a while.”
“I hope not,” I sighed. “My goal is to get them done before New Year’s.”
“What?” His spoon dropped into the jar, clinking against the glass. “That’s less than six months away.”
“I know.” Just thinking about all I still had to do made my shoulders fall. “I thought I could do it, but with the restaurant and some of the bigger things on the list, it will take longer. I was really hoping to have it done before Jamie’s birthday.”
That seemed impossible now. With the restaurant and all of the other things I was adding to my daily schedule, piling on more was going to wear me thin. If I didn’t let up, my self-imposed deadline would stress me to the max.
Which meant it would take just that much longer to put this list behind me. Could I do it if I added another year? Maybe two?
I didn’t have to do this all so soon. But I wanted to. I wanted to do this for Jamie and let it go. Every day, I was getting stronger. I was getting back on my feet. I was starting to live again—for me.
And until the list was done, I’d still be living for Jamie.
“Look.” Cole leaned his elbows on the table. “I don’t want to step on your toes. This is an awesome list and he had some cool ideas. If you want to do them on your own, I understand. I get that this is incredibly personal. But if you’d like, I’d be glad to help you with some of these.
“What?” I didn’t know what made me smile more. That he thought Jamie’s list was cool or that he wanted to help. Regardless, I was beaming. “You’d really help?”
Cole’s eyes were sparkling again. “In a heartbeat.”
Devney is the USA Today bestselling author of the Jamison Valley series. She lives in Montana with her husband and two children. After working in the technology industry for nearly a decade, she abandoned conference calls and project schedules to enjoy a slower pace at home with her kids. She loves reading and, after consuming hundreds of books, decided to share her own stories. Devney loves hearing from readers! Connect with her on social media.