After last year I often feel like I never want to celebrate my birthday again because the day after my birthday was my grandma’s funeral which involved plenty of grief and humor and rude behavior from some people and surprising new connections and getting lost and crossing a narrow stretch of water on a raft and then ending the day with sushi and magellan gin with fever tree bitter lemon soda while recanting the day’s stories in a hotel suite with my sister.
I had a nice enough birthday with my favorite (only) sister and her wife and kids in Seattle but it was looming before the day we buried my grandma.
There were people at my grandma’s funeral who would not look me in the eye, who turned away from me when I said hi to them, who were people I grew up with in a conservative church, and, now, I’m sure because I’m a lesbian, will not even acknowledge that I exist. I sweated a lot when I stood up in front of those people and faced them and memorialized my grandma, the kindest most welcoming person I’ve ever known. She was the opposite of some of the people who were her friends. I spent most of my time, while speaking, staring at the white wall in the back of the room.
I love people’s quirks and openness and closedness and rude and kind behaviors even though some of the closedness and rudeness really stings. There were some people at the funeral who had grown up with me. We lost touch long ago and they all still belong to the church we all grew up in. I wasn’t sure if they would ignore me, too, like some people had earlier in the day, and they clearly hesitated a bit when I introduced Moya and Lucy, but they stuck around for more conversation and muddled through with smiles on their faces. I so appreciate the effort of people who are surprised by what they’re told (“your …. wife?”) and remain courteous and chatty even if they’re thinking I’m going straight to hell.
My grandma was buried in a tiny town in the middle of nowhere farm country in Oregon. We got lost trying to find our way back to Portland after the burial and potluck, and we ended up taking this tiny raft ferry across a river somewhere.
When we finally got back home to San Francisco, Christine and Moya threw me a birthday do-over with oysters and champagne.
This year I’m taking the day off work with Moya for a long city hike and whatever happens. Maybe we’ll walk by the house where my grandma lived here in San Francisco in the 1930′s. Then, big sigh, NEXT year it won’t have been just a year and time will have healed more of my grief and I’ll start looking forward to my birthdays again.