It was his day long before it was the king’s


Today was once magical but now seem more painful than any other day of the year. It is king’s day in the Netherlands, and when I woke up I saw a street filled with flags and balloons, the country is ready to celebrate but I am prepared to cry.

Until two years ago, the king’s day decorations made me happy, as if the whole country was celebrating my grandpa’s birthday with us. We used to joke about it together, it was his birthday long before it was the king’s, so it was his, ours. And together we laughed about the orange madness that took over our entire country.

To be honest, I never even considered the down side of my grandpa’s birthday being today. I never imagined waking up on this day without a present to give to my grandpa. Naive maybe, but I just always kind of expected him to be here with me, maybe because the was too painful to imagine the truth.

But then he passed away, and two years ago I was overwhelmed by the painful reality of this day for the first time.

King’s day in the Netherlands is basically an excuse to party and get drunk before noon. Every square has a stage and every street is full of people dancing in hideous orange costumes. I have never celebrated this day, I had the experience from when we still had a queen and decided that the experience of eating cake with my grandparents was much more precious to me.

I always declined my friends’ invites to join any of the festivities because I had my own party to attend. Two years ago however, I no longer had a reason to decline other than ” I’ll stay home and eat cake myself, while crying about how much I miss my grandpa…” This was a painful realization.

King’s day will always be my grandpa’s birthday first, and I just can’t pass this day without grieve. I’m too sad to be stupidly happy and reckless like my friends but knowing that they as well as the rest of this country can, and do, makes me even more sad. I am not only lonely because of missing him, I seem to be completely alone in my sadness this day as well.

I am happy about Corona today to be honest, his birthday without him is bad enough without a national celebration to surround me. I won’t see happy pictures and videos of the great celebration this year, I won’t have to reject my friends’ drunk attempt to cheer me up and I won’t be bothered by the sound of wasted party people across the street while I cry. Today is a bit more easy. I van quietly eat his favorite cake and remember the 26 years this day had been our day. I won’t feel forced to be happy. But what about next yeas and all the others to come? Will it stay this difficult?

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