My Path is Different

I’m living in the decade my mom didn’t survive.

I just got here yet I’ll be here for a while. I wonder if that’s what my mom thought when she entered her 40s. Surely she didn’t think, “this is the decade I am going to die.”

Yet I fear just that.

Today I see all that she left behind. All that she might have seen. If only she were here.

My path is different.

I want to watch my kids grow up. To be part of their lives and their kids’ lives. I want to love them and hug them and smile at them and yell at them and fight with them and hold them close and let them go. I want to be their mom for a long, long time.

My path is different.

I want to grow old with Josh. To hold hands, have adventures, explore new places, discover new interests.  I want to reminisce about our life. Create new memories to reflect on. To watch our children become independent. Together.

My path is different.

I feel more love and gratitude than ever before yet I crave more. I feel confident yet inadequate. I feel like I am giving so much yet it’s never enough. I feel like I am surrounded by family and friends yet I am alone. I feel like I know myself better than ever yet there is so much more to discover.

My path is different.

I know the age of her death is arbitrary. I know the chance that I will follow in her footsteps of early demise is unlikely. Yet I can’t shake it. The closer I get to the age she died the more I feel like there is a shadow cast upon my soul.

My path is different. But only if I make it so.

This decade I will love more. Laugh more. Smile more. Feel more gratitude. Experience more joy.

Happy birthday, Mom.


Post Script from my actual 44th bday – post from Facebook:


I have my mom’s hands.

I often look at them with wonder. Curious what it would be like if she were here. Would we link fingers like I do with Marlee? Squeeze hands like I do with Lila?

Today isn’t just my birthday. It’s my 44th birthday. I have entered the age my mom was when she died.

It’s surreal. And bittersweet.

When she died I remember feeling an immense sense of loneliness and isolation. There was no internet. No social network. No one besides my friend Dan Paluso to say, “I’ve been there. It gets better.”

While many expressed sympathy, few shared empathy. If empathy existed, I was immune to it (isolation and shame will do that to a person – thank you to Brene Brown for helping me to understand that).

Today I can summon support from friends or strangers. A few words; a good search. Public or private; named or anonymous. It’s easier to find someone to say, “I’ve been there. It gets better.”

While a shadow of sorrow still creeps into my mind, it no longer penetrates my soul.

Maybe the promises I made to myself when I entered my 40s helped (

Maybe it was the healing of hugs and hand-holds from two great girls.

Maybe it was something else entirely. Or, doesn’t matter at all.

Thank you for all of the birthday wishes.



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