Saturday, December 02, 2006

50th Birthday Blues

Now, most people would think that title means that being 50 is hard, and that I don't like getting older.

On the contrary, as a dear friend used to say, "Every day above ground is a good one!" I was excited about this birthday, a watermark day, a half a century achieved, happy with myself and my life. I've been practicing for 50 since I was 45 (you know, you tell people you're 50, and by the time you get there, it's old hat. In another couple of years, I'll be practicing for 60).

On my 40th birthday, when I woke up I wished for something different. I was not happy. I did get my something different; I got a divorce (look in the archives if you're curious; I have a better divorce story than anyone else I know), I enrolled in nursing school while working full time (and graduated, and passed the NCLEX in 30 minutes), I had full responsibility for two preteen kids, dated a lot, and finally moved back to Oklahoma. It was a roller coaster ride of a decade.

I am still happy. But I am also very sad.

When I got my divorce, my ex-in-laws told me that I would forever remain an honorary member of the family, and even if I wanted to leave, it was NOT allowed. Instead of in-laws, I have out-laws, and one of them, Deborah, even loaned me the money to divorce her brother.

So yes, I love them, and my life remains entwined with them to some degree, but I am most fond of Deborah; she even considers herself my daughter's second mother.

Deborah's husband Robert went to the doctor the Wednesday before Thanksgiving with headaches.

The doc was smart enough to order an MRI, which revealed a brain mass, and surgery was scheduled for the Friday after Thanksgiving.

It was a malignant tumor, and they took it out.

After the surgery, he was on my sister's ICU unit and when I asked her, she fixed it so Deborah could stay with him instead of only staying for visiting hours. Such a small thing, but the only thing I could do.

By Sunday, he was in a coma and on life support. By Thursday, he had died; 36 years old, leaving behind a wife who adored him and two small children. He was the funniest and most open minded of all my out-laws and I will miss him.

My 50th birthday was Wednesday. Yes indeed, every day above ground IS a good one. Every day is a gift and a treasure. I only wish Robert could have many more of them.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for the endearing yet, uplifting story... I turn 50 on Feb 10th and have been in a melancholy roller coaster of emotions and thoughts for the past week, you have given me a different point of view that I can appreciate. Thank you again.

Jodie said...

You are welcome...I hope you find that your fifties are a vibrant and wonderful time.