Today is my birthday. Today, September 6, I am 49 years old. This may not be significant to anyone else, but it certainly is to me. I am officially older than my mother was when she died. She died on February 23, just several weeks shy of her 49th birthday. (That's her on the left. My grandmother, Baba, is on the right. )
My mother, Annabelle, fell in her kitchen while entertaining guests and developed a sub-dural hematoma (a blood clot). She fell backwards, hit her head on the floor and was knocked out for a minute or so. The next day she had a terrible headache, lost the ability to taste food, and went to the hospital. They treated her for the blood clot, and we (her kids) didn’t know that they wanted to operate to get rid of the clot. She was in the hospital a week later, when the nurses found her on the floor. She had gotten up to help her roommate adjust something, and collapsed.
The clot had severed her brainstem. She never regained consciousness. I was living in San Diego and attending law school at the time. My brother, who was 21, was living there with me. We flew to Florida, and with our sister and made the excruciating decision to turn off the machines.
The decision was difficult for many reasons. The most important one being, we had lost our father 7 years earlier to a massive heart attack. He and my mother were at the Country Club having dinner, and when she looked up my father was slumped over. Despite the efforts of several doctors and a nurse who were conveniently there having dinner, he did not survive. He was 58 years old. It was February 23. Yep, the same day, seven years earlier.
So, let’s see. My mother was 48 when she died. My older sister, K, was 48 years old when she lost her youngest son, in a tragic accident. This 48th year has been a long one for me.
But, it’s over. So, let it be known, I am 49 years old, and I never, never thought I’d be excited about THAT number. But, I am. (Yeah, I spent most of the day crying for no apparent reason.) However, I will be thankful for each day, each hour and each minute that I have with my crazy, screaming, fighting, loud, and beautiful family.
In the words of Jon Mayer, I know the heart of life is good.