Today I turn forty. Back when I was 25 years old, I had just lost my mom, I had just found out I had the same gene that was connected to her breast cancer and death. I sat in the Wenatchee High School Gym watching my little sister play volleyball and I looked around. I felt overwhelmed with grief. It was probably one of the worst moments in my life.
I looked at all these people and thought, they all will live and I will die. I’ll never grow old, I’ll never see grandchildren. I am going to die. Just like my mom just months before. I will die early. I just won’t ever see old age. Now I know I am hardly old. But that there was this moment in time that I so clearly saw my future and 40 wasn’t in it. Let alone anything beyond. I was devastated. I was facing death and there was nothing I could do about it. I felt at the young age of 25 that my death was imminent.
It wasn’t long before I found my strength to fight and do what I needed to do to get to this age. People have asked me how I feel about 40. Really, I feel accomplished. I feel proud. I feel so grateful. I see the life behind me, heartaches and triumphs, love and loss, fear and courage. I made it here, fighting the whole way but I made it. I lost body parts, I lost a part of me. But at the same time I found myself.
I see the life behind, and I see the life ahead. Long or short, it is beautiful. Life isn’t about survival. It’s about enjoying the journey – good and bad. Then pulling up your big girl panties and doing what you have to do but the strength to stay true to yourself. I don’t know what is in front of me. How many years I have. What love and loss I have ahead of me. I know there will be more. But I am going to enjoy every second. Look out world, Amy is coming down the hill and picking up speed.