Saturday, June 13, 2009

36 years

Tomorrow is my 36th birthday.

It may sound cliche, but I truly do not feel 36. I don't know what age I do feel exactly, but in my mind it's a lot younger than what I am. Most of the time I forget how old I am until one of my kids ask me, or if I'm at the doctor's office and someone asks me.

This birthday I'm feeling a bit melancholy and it's not because I'm getting older. I'm dreading this next year, but it isn't because it brings me one year closer to turning 40. I'm just afraid that this next year will take people away from me that I love--specifically my grandpa and my best friend, Julie.

As I write this, my grandpa is in the hospital with a heart condition that so far hasn't been brought consistently under control. He is 83 and I know that is a very long time to live, but it isn't enough for me. My grandpa has always been there first for my mom, then for me, and now for my kids. I want to hold on to him and I want him to live forever. When I think of the future, I don't picture him not there for my kids' graduations, their years of college and their weddings. In reality, I know that the odds of him being here for all of that are slim, but it hurts my heart to think of a big family event happening without him. I am praying hard that God will just give us few more years with him.

My friend, Julie, is fighting cancer right now with every inch of her being. Today we celebrated her daughter's birthday and while I was enjoying the day, the shadow of cancer was ever-present in my mind. Will she be here next year to celebrate another birthday? Will her husband and daughter be forced to go on without her? How will I go on if she isn't here? I feel like cancer is slowly taking her away from us. It consumes her thoughts, it consumes her emotions, and it has very unfairly decided to consume her body. Every minute with her is precious. I've gone through this cancer journey with her for the past 2 years and until today, I have never thought about how I will react to her not being here. She can't leave. I feel like shaking my fist at God and screaming, "IT'S NOT FAIR!"

But, life isn't fair. Nobody gives us any guarantees. I'm so blessed with my family and with health, but I know now more than ever what I've been given is fragile. I know I don't appreciate it enough and I know I can never fully express to God my thankfulness for it all.

My prayer is that my 36th year is filled with good things. I want to bask in the joy of my life more. I want to stop and look with wonder at my children and how they're growing into wonderful people. Most of all, I want to keep everyone that I love in my life circle. If one of them were to be gone, it would leave a giant hole that I could never fill.

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