Seven years ago, on the eve of my birthday and while I was preparing myself to cross into the thirties my grandpa died. I remember that day so good because I had a good day till the point I got the call telling me that he’s gone.
I had plans to celebrate turning thirty, and for an unknown reason or probably just regular excitement I celebrated early.
I spent my birthday crying my late grandpa and replaying the last months that lead to his death. He was ill, he was in and out of hospitals to many times. He was once in the ICU and everyone thought he won’t make it but he did. Then his doctor suggested he should have an operation. According to his doctors his chances of life and death were equal whether he had the operation or not but had the operation succeeded he will be able to live for many years to come.
I saw my grandpa a day before the operation. Something inside me kept telling me that we are saying our last goodbyes. In that day my grandpa was in a relatively good shape, sometimes I wish I voiced the idea that crossed my mind when I saw him and the he shouldn’t be having this operation anyway as long as he seems to be improving.
He died in the eve of my thirtieth birthday. Yet he wasn’t the 1st grandparent to do it. His wife (my maternal grandma died two days ahead of my 16th birthday). And three years after his death my paternal grandma dies three days ahead of my birthday.
I remember how sad my father was when my grandpa died. I remember that he just went to the hospital though he knew he won’t do anything. He just wanted to be there. Yet I remember that he brought me a gift and gave it to me. I remember him saying that my grandpa died yet it is my birthday. I remember him giving me the gift and saying: “happy birthday Misho”.
I didn’t know back then that seven years later I will spend my birthday thinking of this exact situation trying to figure out what lesson did my dad intend by giving me this gift in that time.
Did he want me to know that regardless how deeply he is grieving the loss of my grandpa yet he loved me more, or did he want me to know that life should always trump death?
I keep thinking of this very incident as I am passing the 37th line while grieving my own father’s death. My father didn’t die on my birthday; he died a little over a month earlier and a little over a month after his 73rd birthday.
I keep thinking what would my dad do, and what would he want me to do?
I can’t claim that I am starting my 38th year feeling lost, because whatever feeling I am going through since my daddy’s death is more profound than words.
My 37th year was rough, even before daddy passed away. My years start with my birthday and the 37th year started we a huge fight with someone whom I used to consider a close friend. A fight that led to more fights over the course of the year and eventually to the end of the said friendship. Later on my writing dream came to an “expected” hold for reasons I foresaw yet had nothing to do to stop or change. I also got into a sort of relation with Mr. “Don’t count us as a relationship”. “Him” was an eye opener. How I opened up to experiment getting lost into something that I knew better than even attempting to seriously consider. And how doing so opened up space for novel ideas and feelings.
A definitive moment was him asking me about a certain someone, and how his seemly innocent question made me realize that I was never really over that certain someone and my feelings for him had been the same. My feelings for that certain someone remained as fresh and as intense regardless how many years passed since “we” were over and regardless everything I did to get over him. I even still tremble every time I remember how I felt facing that question.
And though it seems that I have enjoyed the discoveries that “no relation” with Mr. “don’t count me as relationship” yet it was rough. I still got many questions unanswered. And he/ it left scratches that will need time to heal and might lead to complications.
But what made my 37th year really rough was the idea that I am going to lose my dad. He had several health issues that kept me on my nerves. Ironically nothing I worried about killed him, what killed him was something no one would see and even worse something that no one could stop.
He died anyway, and now I am starting my 38th year without him.
I have no safety nets. I am officially a grownup.
The birthday test never fails. Only those who love you will remember. And only those who love you will make the call regardless how inconvenient the circumstances seems to be.
Only those who love you will show their love because they know that love conquers all.