Sunday, May 4, 2008


To celebrate finishing my school year, I give you the following meme that I found some time ago on Carol's blog, Northwest Ladybug.

10 years ago... I was in the grips of situational depression which started the spring after my sister's death from lung cancer. Unlike losing my father six years previously to prostate cancer, I couldn't seem to grasp that my sister was gone. It was partly her age (just shy of 49); partly that she'd left behind her 14-year-old son, and I couldn't imagine that for my own son; and partly that I missed her. I spent close to 10 weeks in black, rolling, waves, until I got some help that actually worked around June. The depression lifted like fog off the San Francisco Bay. It was one of the most luxurious and wonderful feelings I've encountered.

10 months ago... It was July 4th, and we started the day at 7:00 a.m. at the Farmers Market and later had a lovely family celebration with farmed foods, games and s'mores. I think we went to the nearby lake, too.

10 weeks ago... we were on the last day of C's Winter Break. I'd still had to work that week, and so had D, but I'd only had to teach on Monday and get my other stuff done. C had his D&D group that day, so D and I probably went out for Indian food, or it may have been the day that I made D a special 40 garlic chicken which we ate as a romantic dinner at home. Inevitably, since it was a school year Sunday, I'm sure I did some corrections, as well.

10 days ago... It was the day after C's b'day. I had a very productive day that day and I got tons of work done for school, had some writing time, and worked on various house chores. C finally got enough of a break in his homework load that he went to Ring of Steel, his stage combat troop, that night.

10 hours ago... I was asleep

10 minutes ago... I was getting ready to start this blog entry.

10 minutes from now... I will be finished with this blog entry.

10 hours from now... I will probably be watching Moonlight with C., if he finishes his enormous homework load that he's already been working on since 9, after working from 10 - 3 yesterday. (Too. much. homework.)

10 days from now...I will have an interminable doctor's appt. in the morning with my wonderful doctor who always runs at least an hour behind. (He really is wonderful, but he's never, ever on time). Hopefully, that afternoon I'll be picking up my mother from the airport, but I'm not counting on that right now, as she's sick with a stubborn bacterial infection, and I'm not sure she'll actually be well enough to travel by then.

10 weeks from now... will be my birthday. It will be my 49th birthday. I plan to celebrate in some big way, because for me, this is much bigger than my 50th birthday, because it will mean that I made it to 49 when my sister didn't. I've been ridiculously superstitious about this birthday for the past 11 years. Cancer leaves an ugly shadow.

10 months from now... It will be that time in Michigan when we are all yearning and burning for spring weather. My Japanese daughter will have just turned 22, and my Danish son will be just shy of 20 and my mother will be having a significant birthday three days later. I might well be in NYC to visit her, but I'm guessing I'll leave that Tuesday, rather than Sunday, so I can teach my classes on Monday.

10 years from now... I hope to see C done with education and having at least met his life's partner. I'd love to see him finding work, or an area of work, that he enjoys and that suits him and that he's on his way to being settled in life. I hope that all those I love will be in good health. I hope to have at least one novel published. I hope to still be teaching if I'm not too much of a cranky old lady by then. I hope to be in better shape than I am now. I hope that D will be happy and healthy and winding down his career. I hope we'll have enough saved that when we DO hit retirement that we can get some travel time in. On a less, completely self-centered note, I hope that our world will be healing and that we will have struck more parity between countries and between citizens within countries and that the U.S. will have a much better, more globally-minded leader.

What do you hope for 10 years from now?


glamah16 said...

Beautiful post.The future is ripe with promise and hope.
I too fear the big C and hope I reach 53(I'm 39).My mother died at 53 of ovarian cancer. I remember reading Madonna was obsessed with making it to her Mothers age. Hopefully in 10 years I'll be married, a mother, and happy with CS somewhere between here and Sweden with a fufilling job or my own buisness.

Jen said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your mom, Courtney. I guess there are many of us with that different kind of clock ticking.

I hope you hit all your 10 year goals, too - they sound like grand ones! Maybe your business will have something to do with cooking? You have such a flair for it!

thailandchani said...

Wow. I'm blown away by anyone who can remember incrementally with that kind of clarity. I couldn't do it to save my life.

Jen said...

My computer calendar helps, Chani. ;-)

anno said...

I love the way you have telescoped time in this meme -- it's a great thing to see life on this grand scale.

I'm betting you get that novel published. And probably start a business as well.

And I'm also betting there are one or two people out there who are hoping you are still teaching ten years from now.

April said...

I love this meme! So sorry about your sister. I read this at my own sister's house, and can't imagine the pain and sense of loss that you most likely still feel. My deep condolences.
I look forward to virtually celebrating your 49th in 10 weeks!

Jen said...

Anno - As I said, we'll see how grouchy I am by then, lol.

April, thanks for the sentiments. It's hard having her gone, but we were 11 years apart in age, so I wasn't as close with her as we might have been. I really feel more that it was a tragedy that shouldn't have happened. But don't we always feel that way when death comes too early? And I'm so glad you have your sister in your life - from the glimpses from your blog, it sounds like you two have a wonderful relationship!

Korie said...

An interesting post and interesting time periods to ponder. I hope your goals for the future turn out just the way you want them to, or better even.

Sai Hijara - Ferraris said...

Lovely, lovely, lovely! I just have to do this meme Jen, can't let it past...I will make my post later after our Music Monday...Gosh...I have to start thinking now! ;)

Will be back later...Ciao for now!

Karen MEG said...

What a wonderful post! I too am saddened that you lost your sister when she was so young.

Your meme is so organized and written with such clarity ... I can just tell you're a teacher ;).

I may have to borrow this one at some point. I think it's important to reflect on one's life, and thinking about the future with hope is always a good thing too!

ENjoy the rest of the weekend!

Dru said...

Reading your post makes me reflect on what has gone on with my life, both past, present and in the future. I think that is great that you can recall what you did in the last 10 minutes let alone that last 10 years. Good for you for knowing what you want for the future.

I hope your Sunday was a good one.

Jen said...

Thanks so much for the kind words, Lilac!

Mariposa, by all means, use the meme. I always send them out to all who'd like to do them.

Karen, thanks so much for stopping by and for your kind words! I hope your weekend has been a good one, too.

Thanks, Dru, it has been. I like thinking about the future because it's a reminder that there are goals I want to work towards.

Núria said...

Lovely post Beauty! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and wishes with us :D

Kori said...

This is so lovely; I am gald I followed you here from April's site today.

painted maypole said...

this is such an interesting meme!

Goofball said...

I am sorry to hear that your sister passed away due to long cancer. My mother lost her sister due to lung cancer as well at the age of 56, 7 years ago. It is a horrible horrible scary disease!

I sure hope that you get a novel published as well. Then I can brag that I've been corresponding with this famous novelist and that I know her personally for quite some time then :D....

it's a fun meme, I might play as well. I'm just already 20 posts behind in my mind that I haven't been able to type out yet. Aaagh, I'm overloaded with appointments, marriages, baby visits, choir rehearsals etc......I just want to sit in the sofa a bit for now.

ah no, make that sitting in our tiny garden, as the weather is truly fantastic out here at this moment.

Jen said...

Nuria and Kori - thanks for the kind words! Kori, I need to stop by for a visit - it's been crazy for me the past few days.

PM - it's a wonderful meme - it really got me thinking as I did it. Give it a try!

Goofball, I'm so sorry your mother lost her sister. It's a horrid disease. And I'm glad you're finally getting some time to enjoy the weather. And I hope you can say you're friends with a famous novelist, too. ;-)

Leslie said...

This is a great meme. I hope your wishes for the future are fulfilled. Is it a bad sign that I cannot imagine my life 10 years from now? I'm still struggling to dream up dinner plans for the upcoming week. I blame it on the new mommy fog.

Betsy said...

Wow Jen! Somehow I'd missed this meme. I had no idea that your sister had battled cancer and then passed away! I am so sorry!

Thank you for your kind words on my blog. The emotions you describe here really mirrors a lot of what I'm feeling right now. It just doesn't seem fair that something so terrible could happen to someone so sweet and young and with so much potential.

That, and I am very conscious of the fact that he's someone's son and that this could easily befall one of my own! I can't imagine what his poor mother is going through right now...