She was only 26 in this photo. She had already lived half her life.
When I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer at age 49 (I actually had metastatic disease a year earlier.), was it any wonder that I didn't expect to live long? I had my mother's history staring me in the face. I even asked the oncologist if I was going to die on July 2nd after my 52nd birthday like my mother did. It was a rhetorical question, but it shows how aware I was the passage of time and how fleeting it is.
So here I am - 53 years old, an age my mother never reached. I remember breathing a sigh of relief when my sisters and husband reached that age, as if there was something magical about it that would protect them from harm.
It's a bit different for me. I'm incredibly grateful for the gift of more time, but it's poignant in that I know that each day, each birthday, brings me closer to the time of my death. I know this is true for everyone, but I am acutely aware that this could well be my last birthday on this side of eternity. I'm not breathing a sigh of relief for reaching this age, but I do breathe a sigh of gratitude each day for waking up.
Happy birthday to me! I get to be 53! I am glad.