weird. that’s what my last name means. weird.
or strange. or odd. or unusual. or unorthodox. you get my meaning.
the thing is, each of these synonyms has a different kind of connotation yet for some reason, i tend to relate the most with ‘weird’. i guess it’s a weird choice. pun intended. somewhat.
the reason i have been thinking about the meaning of my last name is probably because for the first time in my life i live in the country of its origin, in slovenia, and here, people know what it means. in canada and austria people would just mostly mispronounce and misspell it. plus, it has that unknown letter ‘č’ in the beginning which doesn’t necessarily mean anything to anyone outside of a slavic speaking country. so in austria, it would be pronounced kuden and no further meaning would be attached to it. well, maybe the ‘what on earth is that’ -meaning. but that would be it. if they knew the sound for ‘č’ which is a ch sound as in whiCH then they would immediately know, ah, balkan. which country, they didn’t care. it was all the same to them. this was back in the 80s when i was the only person in class with a ‘č’ in my last name. plus, to be fair, it used to just be one country not a bunch of them…
in canada people tended to be a little bit more curious about it, in a friendly way. in a polite way. the canadian way. they would ask how to properly pronounce it and would try to emulate the sounds that i made. usually, with little success and with plenty of laughter. it was cute. a neat conversation starter. rarely did anyone ask, if it meant anything and i never really gave it a second thought either.
living in slovenia now for the past 15 years, its meaning makes itself known, particularly when i need to make a reservation over the phone and they ask, what’s your last name. i answer, ‘čuden’. weird. then they say, that’s fine but what is it. i chuckle, no, it is čuden. it is weird. and i proceed to spell it. then either a short moment of silence follows or an awkward ‘oh, i’m sorry’. that’s why i usually indicate a chuckle, so that they know it’s funny. and i guess it kind of is.
the reason i’m delving into the meaning of my last name is that it seems that the meaning has given my life its meaning, especially in the last few years. i guess ever since my sister got sick. and especially since she died four years ago.
weird is the only word that really encompasses all of my true feelings about life without my sister. it’s weird on so many levels, mostly bad, but mostly just really odd. living a life without the person who i grew up with, who was my constant shadow, my constant companion, my best friend, my soulmate, is inherently unnatural. especially since she was nearly four years younger than me. and using the past tense, don’t even get me started on that. it’s not something i can completely get used to but it’s something that i’ve adapted somehow.
i am apprehensive and fearful of starting this blog partly because i have never done a blog but mostly because sharing these feelings leaves me naked and vulnerable. however, i cannot shake the feeling that i need to do this. for myself. for someone who might be going through the same thing. losing my sister has been the most difficult challenge of my life. it has taken me on an unexpected and horrific emotional roller coaster that doesn’t seem to have an end. that thought frightens me.
on the other hand, i’ve been going through the paragraphs that i’ve been wanting to write for such a long time now that it is necessary for me to write them down and for someone else to be reading them. not because i want any attention but maybe because i want to share this turmoil with someone and feel less alone in doing so. isn’t that what we all want, not to feel alone?
i know there are many of you who have experienced a loss and many that have lost a sibling. it’s a ridiculously sad thing. incomprehensable. unimaginable. and ultimately extremely weird.