A few days ago my mom said to me, ‘Don’t forget, it’s your father’s birthday tomorrow.’

Somehow what she said made me remember one particular day before my father’s birthday, many many years ago. It was such a special day that I made that day as my Bank ATM pin numbers. Even years later, when that day lost its significant meaning, it was still used as my pin numbers, several banks away, several countries away. The reason to use it as my PIN was more on convenience, that I shouldn’t forget that since I’ve used it for years and all my banks’ cards used the same pin number.

Well, I got married, and my husband’s card became my card, and I used whatever number he’s been using and soon I forgot about my ‘special number’.

It’s funny that in a period of your life, there are events that are considered big and special, and if you’re as sentimental as I used to be, you might end up using the sacred date as a special number. Your password, your pin, or that date is just hanging in your brain and refusing to go. Stick like a glue to every cell of your memory.

I used to remember a lot of dates. The birthday date of the father of a friend (I know, strange huh). The date of my first date with someone. The birthday date of a lot of friends. The date of my faith confession. The date my best friend passed away. And a lot more. Those dates were stored neatly in my brain and ready to pop up everytime the day came. I was also sentimental enough to consider a lot of events as special occasions. That’s how those dates ended up filling my memory.

As I grew older (and perhaps wiser and honestly more tired), I started to forget a lot of those important dates and I also stopped registering new important dates in my system. My son’s birthday, daughter’s birthday, my husband’s birthday, all those are of similar importance – I can remember them. But other things get less remembered. 

All those days, feelings, and people that were used to be my most important and cherished belongings, have somehow faded away. Taken away (sometimes brutally) by a lot more important experience. Giving birth of my first son. Struggling with the delivery of my daughter. Four freaking dates of cancer surgeries. 

Having a kiss under the moonlight – date? It’s all gone buried under the pain and agony of the uncertainty of life. Sending my love goodbye at one corner of one city that was full of memories? It was gone buried under all routines and schedules and tracks of raising my two monkeys.

Those days that I thought that my life would be over because my (thought to be) true love had left me alone, turned out that my life had not ended that day. It went along until the day I found my true true love – that is my husband, of course. And all the pain and sorrow I felt on those days, nothing to be compared with the agony of being a mom with a condition. Those feelings I thought I would never be able to get through, they were gone and never come again.

Sometimes I remember them, sometimes I tried hard to remember, and sometimes I do remember some details, some scent. But the feeling was completely replaced by a more significant state – my now being, as a wife, as mother, as a fighter.

It feels surreal how the importance of things could shift away. All things we hold on so tight, would eventually slip away from our grasp. 

And what can I learn from this? Beside the surge of shame to look back at how stupid and silly I had been. 

I guess one saying that my mom often quoted was right. Life is like a wheel. One time you’re at the bottom, other time you’re at the top. One day you’re happy, one day you have to cry. This vicious cycle of life has taken away my innocence and turned me into a much less emotional girl. A lot of times I felt too tired to remember. Too scared to make memories. Life has been somehow hard these past four years. But just as much as I want to sigh now, I guess I will remember those days that have passed and forgotten. 

This day won’t last forever. The smile will be gone. The pain will be replaced by laughter. And on and on, the cycle will last until  the end of my days. I shouldn’t be too afraid of pain. I shouldn’t hold too tight on temporary gain. For tomorrow things might change.

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