As I approach my 42nd birthday this week, I do so as a survivor of congenital heart disease, depression, and anxiety. I am glad to be alive for if my suicide attempt twenty-six years ago had been successful, I would have missed my sisters’ weddings, the birth of their children, meaningful friendships, and life-changing theatre experiences.
I will soon turn the same age my older sister, Jennifer, was when she passed in 2016. The reminder initially saddened me, but then hope led to clarity. My sister is gone, her spirit on to new adventures (and visiting my dreams); I can’t change the past. I can’t go back and say, “I love you. I believe in you. I am proud to be your sister.” I can only hope she knows, and honor her by living my life with intention.
I’m more present now than I’ve been in quite a while, aware of moments I once looked passed. I feel this deeply-rooted need to celebrate life and my presence in it. I’m excited to grow in age, and smile when people find out I’m ten years older than I look. I’m moving forward towards an unknown future, and doing so with clarity and confidence guiding my steps.
My sister’s life ended before she saw all her dreams come to fruition. She never got to be an FBI agent, move to Edinburgh and give history tours, or see a Democratic woman elected president. Jennifer was a beautiful, fierce, independent spirit for as long as I can remember and I have no doubt she still is wherever she now travels.
I have so much more I want to do and see before I meet her again; genealogy tours of Ireland and Czechoslovakia, publish my novel and be part of its transfer to the big/small screen, fall in love, form an arts non-profit organization, etc. There are many more goals I’d like to achieve before my spirit joins my sister’s. As I ponder the fact that Jen never made it to 43, I’m determined to live the heck out of this 42nd year!
I’ll start living this re-energized life this weekend as I celebrate my birthday with good friends, tons of food, and family. We’ll laugh and enjoy one another’s company. What more could I ask for now and in the future? That night, House Deeny will say “goodbye” and “Thank you” to the TV masterpiece that is Game of Thrones. For those who know me well, me throwing a GoT viewing party is not a surprise; I am an entertainment girl at heart and spirit. The arts helped me survive open heart surgery and depressive states – they matter to me and I celebrate them.
My interests are many – my passions strong. I love immensely and cautiously. I am more than my obstacles, or the gifts I use to overcome them. I am proud of the woman I’ve become and the artistic spirit within!