The day before this posts is my birthday. I am now 49. Mike was 45 when we met; I was 31. It’s hard to imagine I am that old now, and I spend a lot of time thinking back to Mike at my age. And I remember all the birthdays we spent together…I have kept all of the cards we gave each other. We always did something special, but he made me feel special every day of the year.
My 40th birthday was particularly memorable. My parents happened to be here on the island visiting, and a friend threw a surprise party at her house. I was indeed surprised, by the party, and by the gift everyone chipped in on, a Tahitian black pearl strand necklace I still treasure. That friend owned a beautiful pearl shop here in Kona…and sadly, she passed away too.
Now, I am a year away from 50. How is it possible that much time has passed already?? I look in the mirror and see the signs of time and grief etching their way in. But I also feel young in many ways too. I feel healthy, fit enough to walk thousands of steps each day at work, staying active, though the body I have now is most certainly not the same one I had at 18, or even 40. But it still works and for that I feel grateful.
Life, and all things in it, are fleeting. I didn’t really realize that until after Mike died. But I know now that nothing is permanent. People die. Change happens. I can’t move the clock backwards, and one day, my time in this body will end too. One day, I will join Mike for the grand adventure on the other side. I think about that a lot, another thing I never considered much before his death.
This birthday is particularly bittersweet because it is the last one I will spend in Hawaii, at least in this iteration. Change is happening all around me right now.
I lie in bed, in the room I will occupy for only another few months, with a dog pressed in to either side of my legs. What will happen with them when the time comes, we don’t know yet, and it breaks my heart. That is a story unto itself; a story that has yet to be written. So I can only enjoy the moments and try not to think about it.
I look forward to a couple of celebrations, with the boyfriend, and with girlfriends, knowing it will be the last of their kind, at least for awhile. I try not to think about that too.
I drive around in Mike’s truck, knowing it will have to be sold, and try not to think about it. I drive around in my new car, knowing it too will likely have to be sold, and try not to think about it. I look around at some of the things in my house, knowing they will have to go, and try not to think about it. I remind myself, life is not things. But they are things of this life; things from this chapter which is coming to an end.
Be here now. That phrase is constantly in my mind. It’s hard because I wish I could go back in time, to when Mike was alive…and I am always thinking of the changes to come.
I’m trying to be here now. And now. And now. And now. Until…