11/24/2010

I will eat a spicy tuna roll

It is my birthday tomorrow. I will be twenty-six.

Twenty-six, I suspect, is not so very different from twenty-five. There are no added perks with this birthday as far as I can tell, but, equally, I do not see any real downside to it.

At work, each staff member's birthday is celebrated with a gourmet cupcake. I had been adamant that I did not want a birthday cupcake. "I appreciate the idea of it, but I will not eat it. I do not want $2.50 wasted on something that I will not even eat," I explained at lunch one day.

"I will eat it," a coworker piped up.

"Instead of a birthday cupcake," I suggested, "when we meet that morning to discuss our feelings, I would like to run around the circle and get birthday high-fives from everyone." The table was suddenly quiet. I would have felt uncomfortable if I was not so sure that everyone was secretly cursing themselves for not having that very same idea on their own birthday.

Today, my boss is taking me out to lunch for birthday sushi, even though it is a day premature. "If anyone asks," he stage whispered, "it is a business meeting because we are not supposed to celebrate birthdays beyond the birthday cupcake."

In reality, my birthday lunch is less about celebrating my birthday and more about my boss's desire to try the sushi place down the street. "I've heard they have all you can eat!" he'd exclaimed one day. Ever since finding that out, he's been trying to casually lure a group of people over there for lunch. "You know what would be fun to do one day?" he has asked on more than one occasion, "if we were to go to that sushi place down the street and get some lunch!" He's also been known to throw out a casual, "Hey, how about, when we're going to have a meeting or something, we go to that sushi place down the street and just go over some notes. It will be lots of fun."

I do not trust his judgement when it comes to fun things though. Other things he has told me are high in "fun factor": Silent auctions, breakfast meetings, investment seminars, board meetings, award presentations and getting insurance quotes.

11/10/2010

Aiming High

When I google my own name, I am often jealous of the lives of my name twins: A registered massage therapist, a gastrointestinal specialist, a general medical practitioner and body builder, among other things.

I would like to be all of these things at once.

I am adding it to my goals in life.

11/01/2010

Death Blows

My grandfather has brain cancer.

I can't decide how I feel about this.

That's not entirely true; I know that I am sad about this, but I keep telling myself that it is not such a big deal. My grandfather is an old man. He is 87 years old after all. He has lived a full life.

But he is my grandfather. And no matter how old he is - no matter how old I am - I will always want him in my life. I have never known a world without my grandfather in it, and it breaks my heart to think that not only is this a reality, but it is a reality that is right there, waving at me and jumping up and down from a stone's throw away.

And I am scared for him.

What will his decline be like? I think most everyone hopes for a peaceful death, ideally in their sleep. Does this mean my grandfather has no hope for this?

I am intimately familiar with death. I deal with death on a daily basis. It is my work. I try to give voice to the dying and their families. I try to ensure that the resources are there so that everyone has the opportunity to die with the same dignity they had in life.

It's not the same though. No matter how much I may come to care for the people I see during the day, they are not my family. And having born witness to the decline involved with death, if only from a distance, in the final months, weeks and days, I do not know that I am strong enough to provide my grandfather, or even the rest of my family, with the support that they will need and deserve.

I like to live my life in a bubble, ignoring the negative until it is no longer avoidable. Knowing that the end is in sight.... Knowing that I should not waste the time that I have now with my grandfather because it is so very obviously finite.... I am scared that I will take the cowards way out and not say the things that I want to say or do the things that I need to do so that I know, without a doubt, that, when taking his final breath, my grandfather knows exactly what he has meant, means and will always mean to me - that he will know I love him whole heartedly and will always be proud to be his progeny.