Doing my best to get back to everyone who wished me a Happy Birthday; thinking what could I give back, and being this Social Media, a personal story is the best.
12 years ago I stopped celebrating my birthday, because on the very day I was having a great time with my friends, Luca, the 20yo son of one of these friends was killed in a road accident. We were very close to his family, he was in school with my older son, we went on holiday together; for years his father and I would interchangeably whoop ass to either of them when they misbehaved too much, as if they were brothers – in short we were (almost) as devastated as they were.
September 14th had become a day of mourning, especially so because together with the kid, we sort of lost our friends, too: the unfairness of seeing our son still alive while theirs was there no more was too much to bear on a daily basis, and we slowly drifted apart. Nothing rational or even conscious, but we had become a living reminder of their loss.
It’s hard to describe the immense sorrow of losing a kid, but the challenge is nothing compared to having to live with it.
Then two years ago Diego, another kid of the gang got married on that very day, which he chose explicitly to mend the wound: he could have picked any other day to fill with the joy he and his wife were dispensing on all of us, but he wanted to help the healing. In his words: “Luca would have liked that”.
So here we are, September 14th is again a day of (moderate) joy; of course, Luca is not forgotten, but happy memories and sad memories sort of blend together in a mix that’s easier to drink.
This year I will not be able to run the charity BBQ as last year: due to their poor health, my in-laws are moving in with us, and everybody is super-busy with the actual packing and un-packing, but still, this very small group of families will get together for an evening, because now Diego and Luca have an appointment we can’t miss.