Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Living the Life My Mom Couldn't

Marking Time with A Marble a Week

My Mom, Jo Ann Young, died of colon cancer in October 1997.  I was 43 years old.  She was 61. This photo of us together was taken shortly before her diagnosis.

Shortly after her death, I filled a round glass vase with glass marbles.  Each marble represented one week of my life if I lived only to the age of 61.  I started with about 220 marbles. Each week, I would throw one of the marbles into my garden.

I was making a symbolic promise to myself to live my life at a run and with purpose, in loving memory of my Mom.  

When, I celebrated my 60th birthday, I was down to about 10 marbles.  I got my job offer for the Doha gig and threw the last of the marbles into the garden as an act of making way, moving on, and living larger.

I was now living longer than my Mom had lived.  

I remember Mom sitting at the kitchen table, just months away from her final days. She said she wanted to visit Hong Kong. My head snapped around to look at her.  What a surprise! I'd never heard this before.  But, for some reason, I did not ask her why. 

But, travel to Asia is high on my bucket list. This summer, I had a lovely two weeks in Thailand. In mid-January, I am off to Malaysia and Taiwan. Hong Kong is on the list, as is Cambodia, India, and Japan. 

By moving to Doha, I am doing things I never would have done had I stayed in the U.S. More importantly, I am meeting people from all over the world who teach me things daily.

I work with students whom I deeply love. More about that in my next post.

In a bittersweet way, my Mom's death was one of the best things that ever happened to me. Even so, I miss her everyday. I wish we were taking those Asian trips together. Instead, I travel with a young woman who lost her mom too soon, too.  

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