This year I will celebrate my 45th anniversary of graduating from medical school. My class and the university I attended hold reunions on a 5-year cycle. I have attended all past reunions, 5th, 10th, 15th, 20th, 25th…you get the idea…
My friends, my husband, my children are surprised when I say that I will likely not attend my 45th reunion. My husband hears this, opens his mouth to say something to me, and then closes it again, hesitating. How should he remind me some of my classmates might die – I might die – before my 50th reunion?
The thing is, I have planned for months to go to Vancouver the weekend of my reunion to see my daughter, who is turning 39 this year.
A friend who knows I have gone to every reunion listens as I explain my wish to see my daughter at the time of her birthday. She notes, “But it’s not a milestone birthday.” It strikes me, “What makes an event a milestone?’
25th, 50th…these are milestone anniversaries, but who doesn’t remember a first year of life, or a first wedding anniversaries? Aren’t those also important milestones? What lover and spouse doesn’t celebrate each anniversary? What parent doesn’t celebrate each of their children’s birthday as specially as the last one, or the next one? My daughter lives far from me, in Vancouver. I have missed many of her birthdays because of the distance between us. Compare that to never having missed any of those “milestone” medical school anniversaries.
I agree with my husband and friend gently trying to say I may die before my medical school class celebrates our 50th reunion, gently suggesting that I might not want to miss my 45th reunion. But do I really want to miss any of my children’s birthdays if my death is so imminent?? Do I really ant to miss those reunions?