I was supposed to be born in September. I was a little late (maybe more than a little) and since it was the hottest summer on record my mom is still a bit perturbed about that.
I used to celebrate my birthday countdown from my due date until my actual birth date every year.
Then my cousin died the day before my countdown always begins. That year I wanted nothing more than to completely ignore my birthday.
There was (and still is) something incredibly painful about knowing that my cousin who is (I want to say “was” because that’s correct, but I can’t actually bring myself to) seven years younger than me will never have another birthday. His body is lying in the ground in a beautiful well-kept cemetery. He’ll never grow up. He’ll never have another birthday. He’ll never graduate high school or go to college or attend medical school like he planned. His brother will be an only child for the rest of his life. We’ll never get together as adults. We’ll never have a closer relationship than what we had at that moment, because he’s gone.
I think it makes it more complicated because his birthday is in October as well. My dad is one of three and he and each of his siblings had their firstborn children all in October. My grandma always made a big deal for each of us about how as the oldest in our respective families we share a birth month. It was like a special club just for the three of us.
When I think of my birthday, all of that is tied in to my thoughts as well. I can’t separate it completely. The year my cousin died I wanted nothing more than for time to tick as far away from the day of his death as possible and I wanted to skip October. I just wanted all the reminders to be past us as fast as possible.
My family made me celebrate but my heart wasn’t in it. I went to lunch with a couple of my sisters and my mom and took a nap. Then I called my favorite aunt and talked to her for a few hours on the phone.
Last year I wanted to shake off all the memories tied to my birthday. I wanted to do something so big that I couldn’t help but be distracted. I hated those days between my cousin’s death and my actual birthday. Instead of a countdown from when I was supposed to be born until I was actually born it felt like I was counting the days since the anniversary of his death.
I had to work on my actual birthday and I was sick, but the weekend after Homie had an amazing trip planned for me. It was the best.
This year I have been doing much better. I want to have my birthday countdown. I just have to get through the day before…