In two days I will reach my seventh decade of life. This is the one year I have always feared. While my general outlook has always been optimistic there are days when those pesky negative vibes push their way into the fibers of my soul and wreak havoc in my thoughts.
I have always been grateful for my life and particularly with the privilege I’ve been granted to have such a wonderful family … the one I was born into, the one we created and the one I married into. Everyday I have thoughts about how lucky I am despite the struggles I may face. I feel blessed and gifted to have such love all around me. I love the friends I have made over the years and am so grateful and proud to know them as well and especially for the acceptance of my quirky antics and long winded writings. I miss each of those I have lost in life either by death or by disagreement.
When my mom who raised me passed at the age of seventy thoughts of my own future lifespan took hold. I was twenty-six when she passed from a heart attack right in front of me. I can still see her leaving and my heart still hurts on a daily basis. We argued a lot as I was always a rebel growing up and yet I would give the world to have her back. Our physical likeness became quite amazing as I grew older. I have the features of her body shape, the moles we share in the same areas and many of her illnesses are now my own. My inner most thoughts have always said when I reach her age it may be the last year I may also have. Of course no one knows when it’s their time and I don’t know for certain either, it is just a fleeting fear thought that I hope doesn’t happen in reality. I would love to be around to see my four grandchildren grow and prosper in good health and happiness. Seeing them living lives they have chosen. Finding love to share and creating a wonderful life regardless of the details. I believe most grandparents feel the same. Sadly when my mom passed my eldest son was barely three months old and my youngest never knew her at all. This fact makes me very sad because I know she would have adored them and they in turn her.
Remembering her on this birthday especially is ever present in my mind. Seeing her dressed up for Sunday Mass and special occasions. Watching her peeling potatoes at the kitchen table. Gossiping to her daughters on the telephone. Sitting in her favorite chair watching her favorite television shows. Hearing her singing and dancing ever so slightly when she dusted furniture.
I also remember some of the awful things she suffered through like the death of her eldest daughter, Joanie at the age of twenty nine. She never for the remainder of her life ever got over that. However, the joy in her face when Joanie’s boys came to live with us is embedded in my memory. How her face lit up when her eldest son Bobby called her. Her love for and dependency on her youngest son, Tommy. She would worry about the long hours he kept working to support us. Tommy was the one who shared her life with her after her husband died. He watched TV with her, he bought her things constantly. He spoiled her and took great care of her making sure his sisters took her to doctors, or their homes, or anywhere she liked to go to such as her favorite beauty parlor. His love for his mother was consistent, loyal and amazing. I have so many memories of my mom and my brother Tommy that they would fill a book of a thousand pages but today these memories will have to suffice.
As much as my mom and I bantered back and forth I came to realize more and more how much alike we were. Maybe she saw herself in my antics, ways and manners. I will never know for sure, but as they say wisdom comes with age and I have gained a lot of that in my life. So perhaps I am right about that. In any case, I love her still as much as I always have and owed her so much but she didn’t live long enough for me to shower her with wonderful gifts and trips and joy as my brother did. I so wish that would have been the case.
Turning her age in two days has led me to my pen in hand and my mind encased in thoughts of living with her, loving her and feeling ever so grateful she was in my life for whatever amount of time God granted us. I can only hope I have given enough love to my own children so that when I am no longer here they will have more good memories of me than bad ones.
So I’m off to try and enjoy the approaching seventh decade of my life believing this milestone is going to be the best one yet! My gratitude is immeasurable, my love for everyone in my life is undeniable, my hope for better tomorrows for all is my greatest hope and fervent wish. Maybe next birthday I will let everyone know if I’ve made it through with bells and whistles or thistles and thorns…..only kidding. Enjoy each birthday you are granted is my advice. For no one knows about tomorrow but you have been granted today. So grab it, hug it, enjoy it! Love well, smile often and whatever you do don’t judge nor bully because ….”There but for the Grace of God go I”!
Happy Birthday to me! And that’s The way I see it here in Jackson!
Won’t you tell me what you think?