3rd April was my birthday. My 33rd birthday to be exact. My first birthday without my father. [We lost him on 5th April 2016.] Two days after my 32nd birthday.
These thoughts have been ringing in the same staccato fashion in the confines of my head for the last few months. I realise my extreme good fortune that of having had such amazing, loving parents at all. I also recognise that I was lucky to have the most amazing father in the world, who was a father in all the right moments, but like a brother in others, and a pal for most of my life.
Doesn’t stop me from feeling incredibly sad though. In fact, this post has been languishing in my drafts folder since the 3rd, which means I have had to go back and change the tense and add a few explanatory lines.
I am not a great believer in date milestones. Funnily enough, it started off with my grandfather’s death. On 11th August 2002, he breathed his last, and my mother went into a complete tailspin. It took her months to recover the shreds of her sanity, and year after year, I felt the same tremors of grief engulfing her on the 11th.
After we moved back to India, I moved away to college in Pune. It was hard to make friends, but I fast formed a lasting bond with one girl. And her birthday was on the 11th of August.
At that point in our lives, birthdays were a big deal. And I was always part of the celebration, but at home there was an ambience of sheer despair. What was I supposed to do? Ultimately, the penny dropped. I refused to remember the anniversary of his demise; I would rather focus on the anniversary of his birth: an arguably happier occasion.
As I’ve grown older though, new year’s days, Valentine’s days, and the like lost significance. A concerted effort to blot out sadness on death anniversaries of grandparents, beloved pets, and so on has made those days pass by too. The only remaining days of significance are birthdays and wedding anniversaries.
The only wedding anniversary celebrated by my family is my parents’. Now with dad gone, that’s become a sad occasion too. I’m not married. My aunt’s marriage didn’t work out.
Finally, birthdays. Mine: 2 days before my father died. My father’s? Without him, it’s sad. My aunt and mother are twins. That leaves a grand total of one day of celebration in the year.