The day started great. It was today that we were going to celebrate papa’s birthday. Papa is getting old — coming towards 55; the last time I remembered asking his age, he was coming to 48. Time flies.
I sometimes wonder how long he should be with us — my family. I have been through 20-odd years without any major life-and-death events, save the passing of my paternal grandfather and maternal grandmother.
Even then, their passing away had not been so tragic. In my grandpa’s case, I had seen little of him in his last few years, and his death had made little impact on me. All I remember of his death was the hospital bed, a biscuit tin, and the warning that smoking kills.
I was closer to my grandma; unlike my grandpa, she was in my consciousness most days; physically at first, then mentally and spiritually — due to her worsening health, her last couple of years were spent in a nursing home. I guess the fact that she wasn’t at home those couple of years had lessened the impact of her death somewhat, though her death was by no means trivial.
I remember praying every night for my grandma to die — I hated the fact that she was in a nursing home and hoped her pain would end as quickly as possible, through death if need be. Then I would push that thought out of my head, tell God to forget that last thought, and prayed that my grandma would get well and live long instead.
I wished she was at home and well. But I also hated the fact that I could not stand her when she was at home — her nagging and senility had often gotten on my nerves. I remember often avoiding her, and hated myself for it. I grieved.
Despite my strongest protests, my mom and pop will someday go the way of my grandparents. All I can hope for is that that day will be in the distant future…
…And as we keep clocking up birthdays, eventually our last will come.
Happy Birthday, Dad.