Monday, February 22, 2010

One down, 365 to go

Turning 39 is not nearly as big a deal as turning 40. I get that.

However, I have an especially unhappy association with the age 40: it's how old my mother was when she died of a brain tumor.

As a nurse, she almost certainly knew how bleak her prognosis was when she got it. I have, somewhere, a photo of her blowing out candles on her 40th and final birthday cake, her chemo-ravaged head covered by a scarf. She must have known at the time that it would be her final birthday. Mother of three small children. What must have been going through her mind at the time that photo was taken? I can't even begin to imagine, and believe me, I've tried.

So I plan to celebrate my 40th birthday as a great occasion when (and if) it arrives. But I have a year to go first: I'm going to be 39 tomorrow. I decided I would treat this 40th year as a great gift; savor every day of it. I don't think I can quite bring myself to treat it as if it were my last year, but I wonder if my mother would have lived her 40th year differently if she had the knowledge she wouldn't see 41, and hadn't been so sick those last few months.

My plan is to post something here every day for an entire year. Not every post will be so fraught with personal reflection, or so serious, hopefully. What I'm hoping for is to gain a better appreciation of a mother I didn't get to know that well, and honor her memory by more fully living and exploring each day left on my own calendar.


  1. I know that feeling all too well, but mine is with 45. 45 best stay far away for a while because I'm not ready to face it.

    Every day for a year? You can do this. Absolutely.

    (P.S. Happy birthday! Wooo! You're older than me! Wooooo! ;-) )

  2. Touching Kim. It's an inspiring plan/message you have here.