Remembering One Year Ago

This Friday night, something compelled me to reread the posts I had written a year ago. This same time period last year, dad was already in the hospital fighting for his life while cancer cells eroded whatever healthy cells remained.

When I look back at all I had written back then, it’s remarkable how the constant refrain then was how badly I was looking for a semblance of normalcy amidst our crisis.

On hindsight, it seems rather selfish. But it is the way it is. We take normal for granted until it’s taken away from us and replaced by some big event, crisis or tragedy. Then we realize that the normal means all is right in the world and you wish you could just have it back.

Almost a year since dad passed away, I still cringe with the memories it brings. It temporarily eclipses any other thought from my mind when I remember. And for a brief moment, I find myself transported back to a time I wish I could forget. Not to forget dad, but rather, to forget the emotions that I still vividly recall. There are times when I almost wish he had just died suddenly and quickly. That way, the awful memories of how difficult it was for him in his last few months wouldn’t exist.

A parent’s illness and death changes you irrevocably.

While normal life is eventually restored, there will always be a part of you that exists in a layer of wistfulness. The memories, while dormant most of the time, will continue to resurface every now and then. There will always be a tiny, subtle hint of longing, with the unshakable feeling that something in your life will always feel incomplete. And the memories of his last weeks… God, those memories. Somehow, in some way, you’ll feel like you’ve aged just a little bit. Reached a different plane of adulthood that you don’t cross until you’ve buried family. In some way too, whatever other crisis comes your way in its aftermath, even a year later, will always pale in comparison to those months.
On the up side, I feel him always in my heart, always with me and always by my side. I feel like my recent birthday and the surprising peace I felt on that day was his gift to me. In my loneliest and saddest moments, I call out to him and feel that he sees and understands my pain. I feel reassured that there’s a force, an energy in the universe that’s surrounding me and keeping me company.

I visit his crypt in all important occasions that go by, at least whenever I can. I didn’t understand before the compulsion to visit graves, lay flowers and light candles. Now I understand. Since he isn’t with me anymore, his remains are the only tangible thing left of him I can see, touch and visit. Offering flowers and lighting a candle are the only things left I can still do for him.

Next week marks his first death anniversary. I still miss his scraggly, wrinkly, weather-beaten face as much as I did on the day he died. Someday, I pray my memories of him taking his last breath would be softened and finally overtaken by my memories of him as he was when he was happy and alive, and when all in our world was well.

35 Years Old

I celebrated my 35th birthday 5 days ago.

It was kinda cool. It was just a normal day filled with tons of work and problems to mend.

In the evening, since my birthday coincides with my office’s Anniversary, my team and I managed to put together a gigantic, grand party in the office with our Clients. The party left most people with happy memories of a classy but fun night with drinks, food, music, good company and loads of fun. And best of all, no scandals.

Halfway through the party, I went home to spend the remaining hour of the day with my hubby.

After last year’s debacle of one of the worst birthdays I’ve ever had, this year’s birthday was awesome. The normalcy, the predictability of it all but the difference — everyone’s nicer and kinder. It’s not such a bad thing.

Turning 35 was a bigger deal than I thought though. It must be the warnings of my Obstetrician that getting pregnant on or before I turn 35 was highly recommended.

Well, my 35th birthday has come and gone and I remain, as always — very unpregnant. No matter. It’s not for me to decide when we do have a baby, when we don’t really do anything to stop it from happening.

But one thing I realized though.

Being in my mid-thirties, married and childless sometimes makes me feel a teensy bit lonelier than I thought I’d be.

At our age (plus/minus 5 years thereabouts), my girl friends are either married with kids, or completely single. I can’t think of a close female friend who’s married with no kids.

So I find myself often in the company of ┬ásingle female friends who either talk about the guys they meet and like; or married-with-kids friends who just talk about… well… their kids. It’s not so bad. But sometimes I do find myself wishing I had someone who understood the adventures, triumphs and travails of a childless married woman.

But anyway, that’s a topic that deserves its own entry someday.

For now, I am grateful for this birthday that came without the blues, for the first time in a long time. I think at some point, one starts to accept that birthdays aren’t all they were cut out to be when we were kids. So no expectations and gratitude for a normal pleasant day makes for… well, an extremely awesome way to spend the day.

Last. I haven’t posted in awhile, and I do apologize. I will make it up. Soon.