As you can see, I again realized something we already know. On this world, we live in a cycle of birth and death. A time then comes when we decide to die for good, and we are reborn on a new world. Have you ever wondered that as the sperm enters the egg that will ultimately become you, maybe some people in another world are crying out for your soul? While your new mom is celebrating being pregnant with you, maybe your loved ones from your previous life are crying and praying for you. Birth and death are so interlinked, but while we celebrate birth, we regard death very differently. Who are we really crying for when someone dies? Is it for the person who left this world or is it for ourselves?

For me, birthdays are valued, sacred days. They mark the day I came into existence. What day could be more important than that? It should surely be celebrated with joy, with the birthday boy or girl being spoiled as much as possible. A person should value his or her existence in this world and be happy about it. This is why I never skip any of my birthdays. I sometimes celebrate it with a big party, sometimes with a small one. I’ve never once thought anything like, “Gee, I’m 30 now. I’m getting old.” Every age is nice in its own way. Anyway, it’s not years that make a person old but rather the experiences, at least in my opinion.

Looking at the concept of death, I’ve never been afraid of death since childhood. This is maybe because my life was always on the thin line between life and death. According to modern medicine and the doctors at the time, my continued life was a miracle. However, I think the reason for this was my choice for life. Maybe you find it strange, but I believe that a soul makes the decision about whether to remain in this world or leave it. Of course, this decision is sometimes made consciously, but mostly it’s a subconscious decision. By this I mean that it comes from the contract we agreed on before we came here or other subconscious factors. After all, aren’t we the ones who create diseases? This is why I believe that if a soul decides to leave this world, there is nothing we can do except respect its decision. Of course, it’s the me of today saying this. Even though I wasn’t afraid of my own death, I feared greatly the death of those I loved.

As a small child, rather than fearing death, I became curious about what comes after it. I remember when I was eight or nine years old, I held a knife in my hand and thought, “If I stick this knife through my heart, I will surely die, but what happens next? Why is it so easy? Is it really the end?” Yes, I realize I wasn’t your average child—I was very strange. However, even with my childish mind, I never regarded death as an end. I was always eager to learn what happens afterwards, but this curiosity was never greater than my love for life.

From the moment of birth, my entire childhood involved health problems. It began with a difficult birth. The doctors in our city didn’t think their facilities were good enough to deliver me, so my mother went to Ankara for my birth. Later on, there was always sickness and fever. I grew up without knowing what chocolate or ice cream tasted like, but this caused me to gain self-discipline. Even my birthday cakes were made from some kind of tasteless bread without salt. Everything that happens to us is always for our own good, however. At first, I complained a lot by saying things like, “Everyone else is healthy, so why do I get all this trouble?” I now understand why.

Anyway, let’s get back on topic. As you can imagine, I was very thin. But this wasn’t enough—I also got dysentery. The doctors lost all hope for my continued existence on this world. My mom says her first gray hair appeared that day, but she also talks about something else from those days: How I was so bound to life. In the hospital, the mothers undressed their children before the doctors came to examine them. Once the doctors left, the mothers returned and dressed their children again. I was dressing myself before my mom got back and saying, “Look! I dressed myself. That means I’m better now, so let’s go home.” Many of the children with me in the hospital decided to leave this world, but my mom always told me, “She recovered while you were asleep. Before she went home, she told me to give you a kiss.” I somehow believed they went somewhere else, so I only regretted not being able to see them before they left.

Indeed, when a soul decides to leave our world, it’s the parting we feel sadness for. There is always something that we wanted to experience with that person. Maybe it is something we wanted to say to them or maybe it’s just wanting to give them a last hug. Maybe it’s a meal we were supposed to share or a vacation that never happened. It’s the missing memories. In some cultures, rather than cry about death, they gather and share their memories of the person. Each person tells about a moment they shared with the deceased. Sometimes they laugh, and sometimes they get emotional. For me, this way is much more meaningful than what we do in our culture. If what is important is to live in the moment rather than regretting the experiences we couldn’t live, remembering the moments we did get to live and honoring them is more valuable. We can then spend our remaining moments with the other ones we love rather than mourning something that can never happen now. This is important, because one day, they may also pass away and leave us with more moments we never got to share, leading to a vicious cycle. I know it is impossible to share all the moments we want to with someone. Even if two people live to be over 100, there will always be some moments remaining that were never shared. However, I believe that if we increase the quality of the moments that we do share with our loved ones, we will lessen the sadness and regret we feel when one of them passes away.

Sure, I didn’t get to celebrate my 40th birthday with my pop, but he was there (or at least only a phone call away) for my other 39 birthdays. Together we had moments that were nice, stressful, happy, sad, and joyful. Maybe he is now in the body of a newborn baby. Maybe he’s in some other world entirely. Like how water takes different forms, so can energy. As everything is energy, my dad could also be in any form, whether in this world or another. Knowing this, and knowing that he is experiencing his initial moments of a new life, excites me. I would be lying if I said that I don’t suffer, because I do suffer a lot. However, I know my father could never resist my crying, nor that of my sister. Even when he was not the reason for our crying, he would apologize for anything he might have done. If he hasn’t taken a new form yet, I wouldn’t want to make him feel regret. For this reason, I share my emotions in these articles and discard the painful energy I have. Thank you for letting me do this.