I did the math today, and it’s two days.
Specifically, I have lived for two days longer than my mother lived. She died young many years ago from breast cancer. She was plucked out before any of the better times had arrived — children establishing themselves; marriages; a grandchild. Even an alcoholic husband settling into a reasonable schedule of drinking. She was gone before any of that.
But I’ve had two extra days. To breathe. To walk. I’ve spent most of the time in an office. In meetings. Writing emails. Reading a report. Then tossing and turning, unable to sleep, fretting over the mountain of work approaching like a tidal wave.
There were a few high points, too. A glass of wine last night and watching an award-winning movie that allowed a bit of release. A slice of strawberry cheesecake for dinner. (She adored all baked goods and would’ve loved that.)
It must be my job to justify these two days. And all the days that follow it. You could argue that I have thousands and thousands more days to account for, since I was diagnosed at age 11 with Type 1 diabetes — the kind that requires daily shots of insulin to stay alive. The accident of my birth in the era of insulin (it was only discovered in the early 1920s) meant I got to live on.
So, on I live. I try to move beyond the numbing to make it matter.