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I just turned 38 last week, and I still do not see any need to lie about my age.  Truth is, I would rather lie about my waistline, not my age. Unfortunately, my age is easier to conceal than that other “figure”.

Birthdays are always something to be thankful for.  Another year does not necessarily mean an added wrinkle; I think it signifies more wisdom.  Getting older does not mean forgetfulness (I hope…); it means more memories to cherish as you go along.  It should not be taken to mean a ‘weaker’ body; I would like to think you gain a stronger, more joyful heart, which is the center of your being.

However, there is also something about birthdays that makes you wistful, and sometimes sad.  I was finally able to finish “The End of Your Life Book Club” (Will Schwalbe, 2012), which I started reading months ago.  The novel is biographical: the author’s mother was diagnosed with cancer, and during check-ups or chemotherapy sessions whenever they are together they would talk about books they both read, and plan to read, as part of their “book club”, and how these books may be related to them and their situation, or to the world in general.

Way back in college I looked forward to sem breaks, Christmas and summer vacations which oftentimes coincided with National Bookstore’s cut-price book sales.  I would buy about 8 to 10 books to bring home and read, and share with Mama.  We then occupied a tiny room (long story…), just the two of us.  At night we would be in sacred silence gobbling our respective reads, which we would be discussing in our similar “book club” sessions.  I remember her laughing at me when she found me weeping post-Bridges of Madison County, saying I was too ahead of my time and should find time to read it when I’m in my forties or fifties, just to see if I would react the same.  I have yet to do that.  Back then I had no idea she would no longer be around when I re-visit Madison County.

It was easy to control my sadness while reading Schwalbe’s book. I would just turn off my Kindle, and get occupied with some other things until I was brave enough to pick up where I left off.  I finally got the strong resolve the finish the book once and for all before I turn a year older: it is imperative I start a new read on or before my birthday.  (Goodreads nagging!)  And there on the last chapter, as Schwalbe recounted the last moments with his mom, I found out that she died on the same day as Lola Mama, September 14, at dawn.  All coincidental; nonetheless, the waterworks.  38 years old, three kids, early onset hypertension…and I am still a crybaby.

I am finding myself getting better at mourning, indulging in bittersweet memories during unguarded moments.  I guess that also comes with aging.

Cheers!!! Life is good.

sun*star.baguio.02may2013.

 

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