I knew I had to make a plan for my 36th birthday, or else I would just end up doing nothing, which didn’t feel right. I thought I’d like to do something celebratory, to take what Red Twin taught me and apply it. And my mentor Moyra had written to me to say that I am worth celebrating, and my bestie Jodie to say that Steph would want to celebrate me too. But I still had questions about how to create space for grief, and trouble working out what celebratory thing I might want to do – cross-cultural mama life being what it is, that’s hard to arrange.
I made my ‘please’ prayer in our evening prayer time ‘Please help me to work out what to do with my birthday.’ And God answered.
Through googling, I came across two useful ideas. One was about creating the space for grief a little before the actual day, so that there’s space for other things on the day – like, say, celebrating me, and it being my birthday. The other was about marking the ‘death day’. I like thinking that there’s another day to mark and remember her, one that’s particular to her.
It’s not that our birthday is now ‘mine’ because she has a ‘death day’ instead. After all, she was still born on our birthday, and my experience of being born and living is inextricably tied up with hers. But having a whole day set aside to remember and celebrate her relieves the pressure a little bit on our birthday. That day needs space for more than just grief because of our unique twin relationship.
So, here’s my plan.
A couple of days before my birthday, I’m going to get out the letter that she wrote to me before she died and read it again. Maybe I’ll listen to the songs we sang at her funeral. I’ll see where that takes me.
Then on the day, I’m going to go water-sliding, kid-free, with my sister Jess who is visiting. There are some water-slides near our house in Dar es Salaam. Half the time they don’t work, and I doubt they would pass any safety protocols in Australia, but they are heaps of fun. Obviously nothing can be as good as sharing it with Red Twin, but the idea is to do something where I can give myself over to having fun. Water-sliding might sound juvenile but for me it will be a chance to be fully in the moment in that abandoned way that Red Twin did so well. I think I’ll feel like I honour her by doing that, and I’ll be glad to have Jess there so we can do it together.
And then on Red Twin’s death day, 8 weeks later, there’s another chance to mark the day and remember her with others. My current idea is to ask people to write a memory of her on a Facebook thread, but I need to think it through a little more.
Categories: Written by Tamie
Tamie Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at meetjesusatuni.com.