Tomorrow, I officially turn 26!! My how time flies when you’re having fun! I wanted to spend some time reflecting on the past year and the current year to come. I do this before every birthday to try to keep things in perspective for myself, remember my goals, relish my accomplishments and remind myself to never stop trying to make improvements….cause we all know I’m not even near perfect.
I said in an earlier post that the whole thought of this birthday has felt a little strange to me. Last year, on the day I turned 25, I spent it visiting my mother n law in the hospital after a routine procedure had turned into something much more. I was so excited for my 25th birthday. It was another milestone type birthday that I was really looking forward to. I had accomplished everything I set out to accomplish before 25 and I couldn’t wait to celebrate all the hard work. However, life had a very different plan for me and my little family. Instead of celebrating my accomplishments I was trying to figure out how I could avoid what I knew was going to be an extremely rough year.
While in the hospital me and my mother in law shared a moment in the room just the two of us. I remember her saying, “Well, I’m sorry I ruined your birthday.” In which I replied, “There is no place I’d rather spend it.” Then we looked at each other in silence for the longest time, knowing what the other was thinking but not sure if we should say it. It seemed like saying it out loud would somehow welcome the monster that was lurking outside the door. Finally, she said it. “I’m going to die.” In which I simply replied, “I know.” At that time, she had not been terminally diagnosed, the family still held out hope and everyone was throwing around option after option…..but for me and her, having the medical background we did……we both knew she wouldn’t survive. I would like to think she found comfort in knowing that there was someone who understood at that moment but I never asked. I remember sitting there thinking how ironic it was that on the day I was celebrating my birth I was telling someone else they were going to die. I was trying to wrap my head around the fact that my next birthday….she would not sign a card, she would not make a phone call, we would not celebrate with a chocolate cake and candles. After, a moment had passed I said, “I promise we will be okay.” Now looking back I’m sure I said it more for my own benefit than hers but she simply took my hand and said, “I know.”
When I think of that moment a year later it seems simple. It seems like a blip on the map of time. But here I am on my next birthday still thinking about the last one. That moment has left me with an inability to know how to feel about this birthday. Some days I feel guilty for planning a celebration, some days I think I’m being ridiculous. I try not to sit around and ponder it too much because I know that is the last thing Sally would want me to do. Instead, I’m going to think about what she would want for me on my 26th birthday. I know she wants me to wake up tomorrow morning, have a goofy day with the family and put my whole face in a chocolate cake. So tomorrow that is exactly what I will do…..I will look up into the sky and know that she is celebrating too and remember that birthdays are special and we never know when we will have our last one. Here is to a year that is full of miracles, success, and most of all full of happiness and laughter.