Sixty years ago today, I was born on an elephant in the eastern Indian state of Odisha, formerly Orissa, on the Bay of Bengal, to a Punjabi father and a Welsh mother.
This birthday is particularly painful because my dad died this past July and he was a true aficionado when it came to birthday celebrations. Granted, I would probably have had to remind him that it was my birthday, but once informed, he would have responded with a booming birthday greeting.
My father was the quintessential optimist, the most enthusiastic birthday celebrator and I really miss him today.
Probably some kind of delayed grief response to his death because honestly, I haven’t taken the time. Correction, I did try some grief counselling offered by the funeral home post funeral, only to be accused by the grief counsellor, who was a person of colour, of being racist as a white person for referring to my father and I as members of the brown club. She said some other bizarre stuff to background music of The Twilight Zone, offered me juice and a granola bar, then tried to convince me to sign up for group counselling. Over my dead body, though I won’t be checking into that funeral home when I die. Nope. I will donate my body to Science and let them sort out the racist as a white person versus brown club controversy.
To add to my grief, my mother, who has dementia, did not remember it was my birthday today which made both of us sad when I gently reminded her.
On the bright side, because there is one, there was cake (the kind with four corners) and there were flowers, cards and gifts and lots of lovely messages in all sorts of formats and there was love. There was love and there was more to love. And for that, I am very grateful.