“For age is opportunity no less Than youth itself, though in another dress, And as the evening twilight fades away The sky is filled with stars, invisible by day.” ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I use to worry about approaching birthdays in these last few years.

What woman begs to grow older; watch as the mirror changes it’s reflection as you look on helplessly? Hope may spring eternal but youth fades and with it the sinewy limbs of an eager passion that is filled with innocence.

We learn to persevere. Hard earned wisdom and self-actualization replaces our naivety.

In the last year, I have learned that aging is a gift not to squander. Embracing what is denied to others and finding purpose in survivorship; triumphant in the trial and tribulations that walk hand in hand with living.

I was surrounded yesterday by family and friends in a place that holds such bittersweet memories. Thanks to the generosity of an old family friend who offered us his vacation home, we came back to a place where we were all so happy. Everywhere I look, I see my son. I hear his laughter. And for a minute, I feel like this heavy weight lifts.

We were not completely whole on this day, of my birth, but the gaps of emptiness were gentler. The shadows were less pronounced and I felt a small reprieve.

Where will I find myself next year? I can only wonder.

And endure.

But with the deep knowledge that thanks to all of you, I am not alone.