Happy Birthday Dida!
Until recently, I was adamant that I was going to have an unhappy birthday. The 23rd of October this year, to my mind, warranted no smiles or celebrations, because Dida isn’t here anymore to share them with me. I didn’t book the day off work and I even considered deleting Facebook to minimise the risk of well wishes.
When friends and family asked me innocently about gift ideas, I thought the question to be imprudent. The one thing I wanted, no one could give me.
Thankfully, though, I’ve resolved to stop being such a miserable bastard and agreed to two meals and to attending Kilburn’s premier comedy venue — The Good Ship — on Monday.
What changed my mind is the realisation that explicitly setting out to be sad is only really going to result in one thing: being sad. And I’d rather not be sad. It is my birthday after all.
But my birthday, I want to stress, does not stop being Dida’s too.
Without any trace of hyperbole, I honestly believe that she was the greatest person to have ever lived. So I thought it would be nice, in lieu of the card I can’t give her, if I shared some words about what she meant to me.
Dida used to call me the “best birthday present” she ever got and I have to say that the feeling was mutual. I had in her not just a grandmother, but a second mother, a best friend and a hero.
On everything from grazed knees to girlfriends, runny noses to rent stress, dyspraxia to depression, and collecting Pokémon cards to my career, she always had me covered. No problem was too small and none of her answers were ever lacking.
Ultimately, in my understanding, love is when someone else’s wellbeing and happiness helps to determine your own. So even now, doing things that would make Dida happy, remains my top priority.