When May 1st rolls around, I get happy and sad and excited and apprehensive. Many different emotions swirl around me this month. I look forward to celebrating my birthday at the end of the month usually Memorial weekend, then there's the unofficial start of summer that same weekend and I have several other dear friends who share a May birthday too.
Then there is the one event that comes right in the middle of the month that brings a shadow over the rest. On May 20th, 23 years ago my brother died. I try to think of all the good times we had and all the joy he brought to this life but still there is sadness. I don't dwell on it but its there. I don't curl up in a ball under the covers and hide away. I acknowledge the day and the feelings and then move forward.
In thinking about this year, this birthday, it feels more significant than others. I couldn't put my finger on what it is, I mean 45 is not one of those big round numbers but it kept nagging at me that something is different. And then on Tuesday as I was teaching my regular duet it occurred to me, 45 is the age my parents were when John died. I am now the age they were when they faced the most heartbreaking tragedy a parent can ever face.
So now I reflect on choices I've made over the years and wonder if that is the reason, subconsciously, that I never had children or if its the reason I have not had long term successful romantic relationships. I do know that for years I had closed a part of myself off to avoid that kind of pain ever again. But I have found that only in experiencing that kind of pain, can you truly appreciate pure joy.
This life is so beautiful and yet is painful too, its amazing but can be so hard. And if, like me, you believe that when we die, we move on to the next 'level' or realm, then death isn't the end, its just the beginning of a new journey.
So I tiptoe into May with mixed emotions, I'll laugh and I'll cry, I'll feel joy and sorrow and I will embrace every single bit of it.
*you can find Kelly's amazing art at kellybarton.etsy.com