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Today is my 48th birthday. That number gets noticed in my family. And not in a good way.

In some ways, it has taken on a somewhat dark significance. Mother died suddenly at the age 48. She appeared healthy, but there was a silent aneurysm that ruptured and killed her. Four other family members also died at this age--two from very similar causes. The doctors agreed that her siblings, my brother and sister and I, and our cousins should all get tested for signs of a same condition. We all have done this. 

Mother was the oldest of 6 kids. The remaining five all passed their 49th birthday with much celebration.

I am the oldest of my generation, and of course, my mother's daughter. There is a certain oddness of "catching up" to her. I would be completely lying if I said that this birthday has arrived without significant thoughts. Some of those thoughts have been a bit dark--particularly during the worst days of my depression. I remember thinking at times that I might not even make it this far. I had a cardiac scare about 2 years ago and spent two nights in the hospital being poked, prodded, and tested. I passed everything with flying colors.

However, the past few months, I have come to view this day and all the days that follow as an opportunity. I have the gift of time. Perhaps it is premature to think that I will live longer than Mother did. I still have a couple of months before I actually "pass" her. My hospice work shows me every day that nothing can be taken for granted. 

What I do know is this: I have today. I am committed to seeing this Number 48 as an opportunity rather than a dark cloud. I will not squander my days. 

I will appreciate the moments.

I will live and love and laugh.

I will seek the things that bring me joy.

I will do all I can to enjoy every single thing.

I will act foolishly without fear of what others think.

I will enjoy music, art and other things that move me.

I will continue to be the weird aunt/cousin/friend.

I will let the people in my life know how much they mean to me. Old friends, family, new friends, and friends I have yet to meet.

I will dance in the rain.

I will love unconditionally--even if it hurts sometimes.

I will put my heart and soul into my work and be ever so grateful that I have found the work that I am supposed to do.

I will keep an eye out for and relish every chance I have to be joyous and to bring joy to others.

I believe that I do these things now, but I am committed to being ever so much more purposeful in doing them going forward. I do this because it is right. I will do this to honor my wonderful, creative, beautiful and crazy Mother.

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Comment by cassandra johnson on June 12, 2013 at 3:50pm

Margaret, like you, I just turned 48 today and, like you, I lost my mother suddenly when she was 48.  Words cannot describe how much your post resonated with me and the dread of this birthday as well!  I hope you have a most fantastic day!  I love your attitude and aspire to get there soon!  XO

Comment by margaret kraft on June 12, 2013 at 2:04pm

Thanks, Lisa!  

Comment by wiffledust on June 12, 2013 at 1:58pm

well this just put some tears in my eyes, girl! i'm SO HAPPY you're here! here among the living, here in the music scene, here in the social justice scene, here in the u.s., here on fb, here on wiffledust, here in my heart as a friend! i celebrate your "here'ness" with you, dear margaret! i love your list, and i'm motivated to do the same!!! BIG HUGS!

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