Its that time of year again. The high of Popo’s birthday followed by the low of Azlan’s Barsi.
Barsi. At least Urdu has a word for a “Death Anniversary”. How can English not have any word which remembers the day someone dies? I can’t say it’s my sons “death anniversary”. By sheer nature, anniversaries are supposed to be happy. You can’t have death and anniversary in the same phase.
This year it’s hit me hard. The first year was hard. His 5th birthday was so hard. And this year is as hard as the first. Time’s supposed to heal right? Well I can tell you that if you’ve lost a child there are good years and bad. There’s no guaranteed upwards hill to climb to make you feel better. You climb your best but there are these deep crevices that you just don’t see until it’s too late.
I’ve fallen into one of these crevices. I know that I’ll manage to get out. I have to for Popo and Hubby – for myself too. Maybe this year is hard because we’re so far away from his grave. Back home, during this phase I’d think about getting myself mentally prepared to visit him. Maybe it’s hard because Hubby is away and I don’t have him to snap at and then turn to for hugs. Maybe it’s hard because someone who stood for something I desperately wanted to believe in was killed in Karachi last weekend. Sabeen, you will be missed by so many people, all over the world.
I let myself be this low only while Popo is in school. I’d never let her see me this way, at least not yet. One day she’ll know about the angel brother she has watching over her. We were watching The Little Princess and she picked up that Sarah had a sister. And she asked me where’s her baby sister and I told her, she’s with Allah in heaven with her mother. I almost broke down when I told her that because her mouth fell open. And I was thinking to myself, she has a baby sister in heaven just like you have a baby brother in heaven. Of course I didn’t say that – she’s too small and far too innocent for such harsh truths of life.
My baby girl has been way too curious about death lately but I’ve been answering all her questions honestly. I think with smart children it’s only fair to be as open and honest as possible without hurting their delicate little brains and hearts. We’ve talked about heaven (not hell), we’ve talked about everyone eventually dying, we’ve talked about who’s old in our family because she asked (she was reassured that no one’s dying anytime soon – I really hope God doesn’t prove me wrong). She asked why is her 25 year old Unna (my sister) old? I told her she’s not old! To which she very confidently replied, “Yes she is! She always says she’s old!” Thanks Unna for complicating my death talk.
I even made a sad song playlist. I started listening to it last week. Some may say that I should’ve had a happy playlist to make me feel better but you know, there’s no forcing yourself out of this kind of down. This one will take time. It will take the passing of this weekend. It will take many emotional break downs. Much healing through hugs, laughter and food. Many prayers and reminders to myself that everything must happen for a reason because that’s the only way to put logic to this sometimes very mad world.
I will take my baby girl to the park this weekend. I don’t know how I will spend the 3rd or 4th of May. I’ll remember all the moments I can remember with my son. I’ll remember that Aaliyah was actually due on the 3rd – on his birthday. I’ll remember the most hardcore gyne of Karachi going speechless when we told her this crazy fact. I’ll be thankful that because of a schedule C-section Popo was born two weeks early. I’ll remember all the happy birthdays we’ve had for my beautiful girl. I’ll wish for all the birthdays my beautiful boy should have had.
And the days will go on. And eventually I’ll climb out of this phase.
In the mean time, I’ll gain a few pounds eating far too many deserts. I’ll just jog them off in a few weeks. Cause that’s how I welcome the ups and downs of life.