In two days, my dad is going to turn 66. That number just sounds weird to me. Maybe it’s because “666” is unlucky, or maybe it’s because as scary as it sounds, no man in the last two generations of my family on my dad’s side have lived past 64. It’s the second birthday he will be celebrating with my brother being gone from this world.
Last year, Ed passed away on July 22. It was unanticipated despite his struggle and constant discussion of feeling worthless and having no future. Last year was probably the only year when we did absolutely nothing to acknowledge my dad’s birthday because Ed’s death was so close to his 65th. Ed didn’t get to see our dad celebrate 65. He won’t be here to see him celebrate 66, or 76, or 86. Even if we were not a family to celebrate birthdays because of my mom’s religion and the dysfunctional relationship that my dad and Ed shared, this still makes me sad. Every day, our parents will grow older, and Ed will not be here to experience it.
A friend of mine, who is an only child, said to me that she is starting to feel the burden of being an only child in that she herself has the sole responsibility of caring for her parents in their elderly years. Sadly, I now have that responsibility, too, and it’s like I am an only child now that Ed isn’t with me anymore.