Thursday, 6 July 2017

Birthday Letter 2017


"Now for ten years we've been on our own,
and moss grows fat on a rollin' stone, 
but thats not how it used to be..."

Hi Baba,

That lyric has been stuck in my head since this year started.
It's been ten years already, and I can barely believe it. It's like time is playing a trick on me where it keeps rolling but I don't feel it anymore. I still miss you as much, if not more. The seconds and minutes and hours ticking by don't sooth or comfort or ease that feeling, in fact feelings grow around it (perhaps like moss I guess).  I find myself angry at times, more often than not, with more questions and more needs. I'm trying to reconcile with my feelings, with my loss, and death is pesky like that, not giving any help, just being there, with all its emptiness, being but not, keeping me stuck staring at a hole to shout at and cry in and talk at. But never to. Just at.

Pretty dramatic start to your letter this year. I'm sorry. That bloody lyric, from one of your favourite songs, the song I listened to on my walkman over and over, wearing done the tapes you gave me.
That song that when I play when DJing, I take a shot in your honour, to the faithfully departed, the long lost, the missed.  It's just been playing in my head all year.

A decade dad. I know time has been a theme in nearly all our letters, but I can't shake it, it won't shake. It stretches and contracts and lulls me into a sense of security before once again sneaking up on me to remind me that it's there, and so is all the baggage I carry.

I'm now married, and hitting milestones that now make less sense in your absence. So many talks I would have liked to have, so many conversations, so many silences.
I made sure you were at the wedding. I had a couple you know, one in Northern Ireland, and one here. And I made sure you were there. I tried to make you proud, and be happy and remembered you at every toast, and every pause, and every mention of family. I made sure you were there with what I had, which will never be enough.

Mum misses you. More now, with more time (again.. that element of slight) on her hands. I worry about her, you know how her emotions and her thoughts can swirl and cloud up, and I feel there is nothing I can do. How can I help her when I can barely help myself. This world you and I share in-between life and death, that gap, it's a very private place. I share glimpses every now and then. I do it sometimes in fear that the here and now will forget you, if I don't mention you, out loud.
Time does that to memory.

Once, this year, I mentioned you to someone who was supposed to know you. Or knew you. But perhaps not well enough, and they hesitated in recognising your name and your face, and to be honest it wasn't clear in the end if they did remember you. It wasn't someone I knew, or personally even, but I was told you knew each other way back when.
And they didn't seem to remember you, not the way people remember someone like you: instantly, with love and admiration, and a hint of sadness.
And I found myself holding my breath, and holding back my tears, as I rushed to a corner, realising how much I missed you, and how unrealistically scared I was that you were slipping from collective memory. You see, this world you and I share, this gap of darkness in-between life and death, it's ours, and private, but I know there are other gaps with other people, lots of people. And the thought that our gap might become the only one, as unreasonable, and ridiculous as that sounds considering all the people who love you, scares the holy shit out of it.

I guess you can see, I've been trying to deal with this gap. I'm working on it.

I'm working on a lot of things since last year. I'm working with Saadi a lot more, doing my part there, while also trying to figure out what I want to do with my life. That whole existential jam is just one of the many things I wish I could talk to you about. I've been trying to get healthier, basically nearly quit smoking, which I'm sure you'd be happy about. I still sneak some every once in a while, but it's progress. Even more progress is getting mum to quit! Well. She's nearly there too. The time for her to take her health and her being seriously is now more than ever. She has to think about me, and her grandkids... Well, her potential ones.

There aren't any yet, but we're planning it. A whole new page to turn, an adventure, an apprehension, a whole knot of feelings to unravel and discover.
And that stupid death, tainting it. With every joy I can imagine, a sadness to pair it. Where will you be, to have them ride on your back like I used to, to tell stories to at bedtime? Where will I get to see the past in the present, from a whole new angle, and appreciate it so much more?
I don't know how I'll deal with that, I'll have to deal with it when it comes.  Mama will have to do double the loving, and Saadi will have to tell stories, and your friends will have to help fill in blanks that even I can't fill...

I also started doing yoga, which is funny, because you know me and any sort of physical activity. But it sometimes reminds me of you. Your morning routine of breathing and stretching, and jumping jacks. But mostly the stretching.
The last few years I don't remember you doing it as much, you were more tired, and more distracted. But your routine of fresh orange juice and stretching always comes to mind. There's a song we listen to when we're winding down from that day's practice, and today I heard it, like many times before, and suddenly felt it was a song I would've shared with you. And the reality of not being able to hit me again. So close to your birthday, and with "Now for ten years..." echoing and bellowing and reverberating in my head with all the cheesy sound effects of an 80's movie flashback.

And all of that, just to say I miss you.

The day the music died isn't one easily forgotten.



And you know what, that song that I wanted to share with you, that I finally got the name of, today of all days, and has a bittersweet irony to it's name, I'm going to share it with you.

I'll put it here for you. A gift, on your birthday.
I know you'd like it, so much, I can see it now, in our little world.


So much more I want to tell you, but it'll wait till next year..

Happy birthday Baba.
Keep an eye on us, on mama, on all of us who live with the in-between.

Love you kteer.


Bintak,

Karma

Birthday Letter 2016
Birthday Letter 2015



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1 comment:

Michel said...

You are your father's daughter in more ways than I can count. Your letters bring him back for a few moments every year. Thanks, Karma.