Why Turning 60 Hit Me Like A Brick Wall

All birthdays with zeroes after them tend to stop us in our tracks and cause us to reflect. In the past I have breezed through those birthdays fairly easily, but this year 60 hit me like a brick wall.

Survivors Guilt

I know that a large part of the reason I'm taking it so hard is that I'm still mourning my cousin/friend Martha, who after decades of fighting breast cancer lost her battle last October. My birthday is in August, hers was in December, so this is my first birthday without out her.

Why did she have to die and why am I still here? Why do I get to celebrate my birthday surrounded by loved ones and my grandchildren and she didn't?

A friend asked me if Martha would want me to feel guilty. The answer is "no," but it still doesn't change the fact that I'm here and she's not.

Thoughts About 60

I know I'm blessed and I thank God every day for those blessings, but there is something I didn't realize when I was younger that I do now. By the time you are 60 more than likely you have said "Goodbye" to some important people in your life. My grandparents and parents are gone. I've lost classmates I went to school with, and then last year, one of my very best friends.

If you haven't yet lost loved ones and you're around my age, good for you, but get prepared. It's coming and it sucks.

Martha's last year on earth was a tough one. I live in Kentucky and she lived in Florida but every chance I had I was by her side. I think I made at least six trips to Florida last year and I am so glad I did.

One of the joys we had shared over the years was performing a little song and dance at family functions that my aunt had taught us. The other day I found the video of the last time we performed it together. It's a silly song about a Wild and Wooly Desperado but when we shared it with my grandchildren they loved it. When you watch the video you can see that Martha's hair was starting to grow back in this picture. It fell out twice from chemo and then she lost her hair after this was filmed. The cancer advanced to her brain and she had to have radiation.

There is another video of me performing this silly song for Martha in an attempt to cheer her up on one of her bad days. It breaks my heart to watch that version. I prefer to remember a time when there were two Desperados, not just one.

The moral of mine and Martha's story is this....if you love someone and you haven't told them in awhile-do it now. If you have always wanted to take a trip with a special friend or loved one-do it now. And for heaven's sake if you have had a squabble with someone and you aren't speaking-call them now.

Life is way too short and uncertain to leave things un-done and take a chance on tomorrow.

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