Today is my day of silence. Every year since 1995, this 22nd day of November has been one of reflection and silence, and while it’s also my father-in-law’s birthday, I will never stop my tradition. Since I left home at 19, every year on this very day (until recently), I would go to a random cemetery and visit a flowerless, seemingly unacknowledged headstone and say a prayer or talk to the name on the stone.
Today is my godmother’s birthday. It’s been 19 years since she slipped from this life to the next, and I just recently accepted her death three years ago. The last time I visited a cemetery on her birthday was three years ago in Pismo Beach. I was recovering from a huge breakup and working 10-14 hour days (including commute) at the solar farm, and as I greeted her “Happy Birthday” and thanked “Mr. Hart” for letting me borrow his grave for a few minutes, I told my Tita Ol that I was tired of being a hopeless romantic. I was quitting my obsession with love. Everything was going to be physical and all about me from then on.
Well, the joke was on me. She had other plans for me.
I haven’t been back to a cemetery since that day. Do I regret breaking my long-time tradition? No, and I know she’s happy that I did. I still get depressed and extremely quiet on this day every year, but I’ve accepted the fact that I’m never going to be my usually self on her birthday or on her death anniversary, and I’m okay with that. I’m sure my husband will learn to appreciate the silence on this day, seeing how I’m usually nagging, jumping, talking, and laughing day in and day out.
So, please excuse me as I merely skip out on Day 22 by simply saying:
Thank you for this wonderful woman, who was a mother (though only second to our own) to my cousins and me.
I know I still love and miss Tita Ol, and I’m sure my cousins feel the same way.