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Saturday, November 15, 2008


I sit on my couch and send an acquaintance a "Happy Birthday" message telling him that he shares his birthday with a special person in my life. Then I go to bed and dream about randomness all night long. I awake to a windy morning, attend a few phone calls, work out, and glance at the calendar. And then it hits me. It was the 15th of November today and it was someone special's birthday, a fact that seemed so casual last night, and so painful today.

I reminisce about this very same day, 17 years ago. The picture is not very vivid in my mind but the photographs that I left behind in your home are. I remember how I excited I was about your birthday just like I am about everyone's birthday every year. And you shook your head and said that you did not want your birthday to be celebrated. You were embarrassed, you said. You did not have much hair on your head from the chemotherapy and you did not want many people to see you that way. I told you that we could get you a scarf and that it would be all be ok. You did not say anything, I suppose, for the birthday celebrations did happen.

I do not remember much of that day except for the fact that we got a Chocolate Truffle cake from Pastry Waggon just because it happened to be my favorite cake. How selfish of me! But I was only a child then. I do not remember what happened exactly. But the pictures that I remember show you bald, cutting a cake, smiling, and posing for pictures. Was it reluctant, just to please us all, or whether you truly were happy that day, I do not know. I do not know if I wish to know. All that I wish I knew was that it was going to be your last birthday, and your last birthday with us.

You passed away exactly a month and 7 days later Ba. I was shocked. I was a child and did not know the significance of the cancer that you were fighting. Did I ever tell you that I loved you? Did I ever tell you that I wondered if you were one of those goddesses that are sent over to Earth to test people? Did I ever tell you that I believed you had the purest heart that had ever touched me? And boy, did I tell you that I was proud to be told that my personality matches yours?

I sit on the couch wondering when those pictures will fade, tear, and not be good enough to save anymore, and whether as I age, my memories of you will gradually fade away. I do not want to be sitting on a couch 15 years from now struggling to remember what you looked like, how it felt to rest my head on your lap and you stroking my hair, and how your gentle soft hands fed me as I throw one of those tantrums.

And so my dearest Ba, here is a weak attempt to capture those memories into one page. I hope that we meet someday up there where I know your soul is resting in peace.

I love you.