I am not ashamed of my age, but honestly, I don’t love what is happening to my face nor do I enjoy the daily battle with my suddenly white and wavy hair.

I  just don’t know how to grow older without aging.

I like the wisdom that comes with being on the earth for a while, I like having adult children, and I like being married for a long time.

Nothing about my 46 years has gone like I thought it would, nothing has really gone as planned.  I never thought I would raise 6 children, since I never pictured myself with more than two.  There was nothing glamorous about the work involved in running a huge household, but now that the majority of that is behind me, I am glad I was present in the everyday chaos of those amazing humans.

They are worth it.

I never thought I would be a young widow, but I am so thankful for what death taught me. God granted me a second chance.  There is not a day with my husband that I take for granted.  Sometimes I get frustrated with where we are in our journey and the fear can be consuming.  But, then somehow we find each other in the dark and without words or even waking we move into each others arms.

And I hear his heart beating.

 A heartbeat is a beautiful thing, and I adore the sound of his.  I am thankful that he is alive, yes, but he is so much more than a warm body.

 He is everything to me.

I no longer have a memory without him in it, and in all my visions for the future he is the one by my side.   He has made me better in every way.  He is full of life and passion and he cares about people-all people.  He is fully alive and he expects nothing less from me.  He is always beckoning me to look at the sunset from our terrace and to savor the flavors in the wine, and then smiles and shakes his head at every-single-picture of our granddaughter. Together we have created a life and a vision for ourselves and others.

 What else is there?

No, nothing has really gone as I planned. I never thought I had the strength to survive losing our son.  Losing a child makes you question your ability to remember how to breathe.

But I am still here.

A part of me died with Michael, and I will never be the same, I will never get over it and I no longer invest energy into even trying to.  What happened to our son will never make sense, and it will never be okay.  I am learning how to live with my scars and limp through unbearable pain.

I am still here, fighting for my family, and for Michael’s generation.  I will fight until I have no birthdays left. I love this younger generation and all their questions, I love their piercings and their artistic tattoos.  I love the way they think and I love the way they love

 They have something to say.  I am listening and I am learning.

No, nothing in the last 46 years has really gone as planned, but somewhere in all the surviving-I get to live.  I mean really live.  The only way to do that is to live for something bigger than myself and to believe in something greater than just getting through. 

There is more to getting older than just aging.

I could spend the rest of my life fighting gravity and time, but ultimately gravity and time will win. My face is going to continue to sag, and my hair is only going to get whiter and more and more wild. I can’t control that.

What I can control is how I get old.

I don’t want to become bitter, judgmental  and religious or convince myself (or try to convince everyone else) that I know it all, just because I am old. No one cares what a person like that has to say.  

I want to have a voice that can be heard.

No, I think I will try to be better, stronger, kinder and more compassionate.  I want to focus on what I have instead of what I have lost. I want to give my life away, because people are worth it.  I want to love more deeply and live with more passion. 

After all, I am only 46, and I have so much more to learn.