I won’t lie, 50 has been a rough six months so far. At least I’m halfway through it.
Since my birthday in December – which wimpered, rather than roared, in the way I had hoped it would – I have been sick with a mild and lingering case of the flu, then allergies, then a bad fall on the tennis court, then a cold, then food poisoning, then threw my back out doing absolutely nothing, then a cold again…honestly, will it ever end?
I feel horribly old – tired, unhealthy, overweight, dry, and wrinkly.
And profoundly grateful whenever I can get out of my own way and realize how lucky I am.
You see, today is my friend Dee’s birthday.
She would have been 50 today.
Instead, she is forever 49 because she passed away from metastatic breast cancer last November.
This time last year I was fortunate enough to be invited to her birthday celebration. I felt really blessed and honored to be included, becuase even though I had known Dee for years – and enjoyed every second of her company – we hadn’t been particularly close.
Until last year.
For some (lucky) reason, we had been in contact a lot more than usual, and not always with a group of friends. It felt like a blossoming friendship and I was super excited about it.
So when she extended an invitation to be a part of celebrating her life and turning 49 I jumped at the chance. A group of us met for wine at a cute tasting room and then planned to go see Wonder Woman.
It was a great night – celebrating friendships new and old, wondering what the next half of our lives would be like, and feeling empowered and powerful and energized by the strong female energy.
Just a couple of weeks after this, my kids and I ran into Dee and her husband late one afternoon as they headed into a local ice cream shop. I could tell something was off – Dee wasn’t her normal efferevescent self and her hubby seemed subdued too.
The relayed that Dee hadn’t been feeling well and they were just coming from the allergist. Our hello was short and the encounter left me feeling strange.
It was perhaps a week later (on her husband’s birthday) that they found out the cancer had returned.
There’s more to the story, of course, but today, well today is Dee’s 50th birthday. I’m sure we would have celebrated with her in some way – either virtually as she and her hubby experienced the joys of love in Paris, or following her European adventure with her best friend Jessy, or a maybe with group of us together, laughing over something profoundly inapproporiate, as we were known to do.
We would have laughed until we cried and raised a glass of something light and sparkling and amazing in Dee’s honor.
Two out of three ain’t bad.
I love you Dee, and miss you every damn day.
Happy Birthday, Sweetie.
PS: Amongst her adoring friends and devoted husband, Dee had to leave her daughter, Jay, behind when she left this world. If you are moved to contribute to a fund to help Jay live a most delicious and wonder-filled life, the way her mom would have wanted her to, please consider a donation: https://www.youcaring.com/deelorenzohislopandjay-1112989