a lone leaf, blazing in autumn clothing, a vivid premature announcement of a change of season.
Perfectly waxy, thick and juicy, it could not have been there long.
It is, I realize, the color of my mother’s lipstick. The color she has worn every day of my life. Perfectly fitting for the moment…
I turn 44 today.
I do not know how I feel about this fact.
The day I turned 43 was a lifetime ago, surely not just one year. I did not know I had metastatic breast cancer then. I was ignorant and blissful.
I had no idea what my life would be when I reached this birthday.
I have no way to know what it will be when I reach the next. I do believe I will see it though.
I am in limbo at the moment, waiting in the next few weeks to see if my current chemo has stopped working. I do not know if I will need to move on to something else to try to buy myself some time.
That is, you see, my only wish: more time. That is what I wish for today.
Time with my husband. Time with my children. Time with my parents and brother.
Time with my friends.
Chances for memories.
Opportunities for more.
I will keep trying to give a face and a voice to this disease.
There is poetry in the human experience.
I will keep trying to find it, document it, and also help others.
One way I have tried to help is by setting up a research fund at Memorial Sloan-Kettering.
If you can spare a few dollars and want to donate them to research on metastatic breast cancer, you can do so here. I don’t directly ask for donations often, but on this day I will.
I am glad to see 44. But there is inherent sadness in birthdays now.
the wish that comes true if you just close your eyes and blow out the candles…
if only it were so.
And so there is an anachronistic flash of red,
a moment of color.
I am that leaf,
released from the tree before its time,
coming to rest where it has no earthly business being,
nestled in the green summer grass.