October 9, 2015
Today was my birthday. Yikes.
It began with the routine.
Early morning included time for reflection. I visited the place I go for peace, open my mind to memories, and dream of new challenges. I closed my eyes and struggled for a full breath as an overweight cat walked back and forth on my lap. Meditation would be short.
It was time for a good long read of a good long book. Today, that was Bleak House. A real upbeat, quick fall read…or maybe not. I strained through reading glasses to make out the fine print leaning around the head of a cat and resorted to my bookmark as a guide. Why this hefty piece of lit? I add books on my stack of to- reads found mentioned in other books. After discovering Eudora Welty’s comment about The Woman in White, it was scratched at the top of my list. This current classic was referenced in Hough’s book, The Fiction Writer’s Guide to Dialogue. Some people retweet, I relist.
Next carefree birthday activity was to journal thoughts. I surveyed my mismatched collection of notebooks, mostly half-used spirals saved from my children’s years in school. I couldn’t throw them into a recycling bin with half the pages blank! Secretly I longed for a leather bound volume filled with lined pages edged in gold. That should have gone on my birthday wish list. Holding the pile I considered which of these should include freshly scribbled words of pure wisdom my descendants would undoubtedly read with a surplus of admiration and affection. And surely point out my poor spelling, lack of punctuation, and discover I often rambled. Hmmmm…really?
I shuffled the notebooks and put the Angry Journal on the bottom. Next went the Happy Journal. I recommitted myself to opening that one soon. It felt lighter than the others. Finding a comfortably covered notebook, I headed the top of a blank page with the date and the fact.
Friday October 9, 2015. Today I turn 58 years old. I realized in the middle of night I was more than half way through my life. I might make it to 100, but probably not 116.
I stared at the page, closed the cover, and set it on top of the pile. Some days words come easily, other days not so much.
This is the first birthday I would spend without my mother. She passed away 263 days ago. Most years of my life she invited, decorated, baked, and celebrated this day from sun up to sun down. For some she was unable to shop for a gift or sing the happy birthday song. But she was here. Now she is not.
And I miss her.
Sorting through memories is part of grief. My mind fills as detailed scenes drift in and out, every day and every night. Hopefully there will be years to sort them. Now I let each come and rest as long as they choose. One causes me to giggle, another jolts me with pain. I appreciate each.
Lap time over, the cat jumped down. She was off to find a mid morning patch of sun. I was off to begin my next year watching days on the calendar pass by quickly. Grateful yes, but also wishing this particular year would not end.