Thursday, June 12, 2014

Happy Birthday to Me



Sunday, June 8th, was the 55th anniversary of my birth. I celebrated this miraculous, much anticipated event, on June 6th, 7th, and 8th. By Monday, June 9th, I was exhausted and spent the day horizontally fixated on a steady stream of rain.

My celebration took place without cake, balloons, or a "Happy Birthday" song. For these are NOT some of my favorite things. Instead, there was a plethora of ponies, free flowing dresses, champagne, and oversized straw hats centered around a much anticipated polo match. And most important to me, there was an abundance of laughter and well wishes from good friends.

These friends included two people I have known since kindergarten – Monkey Gurl and Husband #3. As you all know, #3 had been missing in action since our separation in September of last year.



A reunion seemed impossible. With the help of my close circle of friends, I settled into my new, single life and #3 moved on without me. A cancer-free woman was waiting in the wings. A woman with real breasts, eager hands, and eyes fixated on a man whose heart was clearly broken.

To me, love hurt more than cancer.

And then it happened... a BOLT so fierce that it broke me open.

I was in Baltimore undergoing preoperative testing prior to my reversal surgery when an enlarged pelvic lymph node was detected and a PET/CT scan was ordered to rule out the suspicion of a local reoccurrence of cancer.

"Local reoccurrence" would mean stage 4, terminal, chemo for the rest of my painful, miserable life.

"I'll be dead in a year" was all I could hear. People would talk about everything and nothing and all I could think of was, "I'll be dead in a year, what do I care."

In the depth of my despair, clarity seeped in.

What I knew to be true was that I loved my husband and he loved me. It didn’t matter who was right or who was wrong. I was tired of punishing him. It didn't matter how much pain we caused each other or how we tried to extinguish it. I didn't have time to waste on anger, jealousy or bitterness. I only had time for joy.

And so, I waited for my test results with my husband in the shadows. I cheered my cancer reprieve with my husband at close range. And I celebrated my 55th birthday with my husband by my side.

Because I live my life out loud, (which often includes heart wrenching tears), I have received a LOT of well-intentioned criticism regarding our reunion. And I get it. But my job is not to please others. My job is to be true to myself.

My birthday was divine!

Early that morning, a happy chirp from a text alert prompted me to open my eyes and the first thing I saw was the time.  It was 7:27.

27's are all about Kerry.

That same morning, I stepped into the day and found a perfectly formed pink rose bursting from a bush outside my door. It was the first bloom of the season and I knew it was for me.

When we arrived at polo, I was greeted by a handsome man who asked, "Aren't you Kerry Magann's mother?" It was the catcher from Kerry's high school baseball team. He was a badass then and now, almost 20 years later, carried a diaper bag and a sweet baby girl who would NOT stop smiling.

I cannot tell you how good it felt to hear my son's name. To know that he is not forgotten is the best gift imaginable.

Love, real love, never dies. And so, I celebrate it.



"Oh no, the ladies getting arrested. How will I get home," worries Sasha.


 #3, Monkey Gurl, Sasha and at the line, little Miss Lucy (she's hard to see)


Monkey Gurl and Monkey ME


Where is Sasha?



Typical Bernese "Berner" behavior


xo, MonkeyME

37 comments:

  1. So so glad you enjoyed your birthday with those you love, including the four-legged sweetie with her head between your legs :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't that the cutest picture! she's very shy and super sweet. best chemo buddy ever!

      Delete
  2. Happy birthday! You have triumphed over Life's and Love's adversity. Grab all the happiness you can with both hands!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Deb! Lots to celebrate. Life really is good :)

      Delete
  3. How beautiful u look!!! Happy Belated Birthday!!!

    We do love our "broken" men. No??? They are hard to stop loving even when they hurt us so badly.

    Be joyful my friend. Be so very joyful and enjoy each moment.

    27--how lovely u got to see an old friend of Kerry's. It is nice to experience these little moments of happiness.

    Have a blessed day my friend.

    You are looking TERRIFIC!!! Love those puppies too--

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I laughed when I read "love those puppies..." knowing you meant my Puppies! :) not, my breasts.

      Delete
    2. yes, broken men.... I changed that line to read "whose HEART was clearly broken" but broken is simpler and it speaks more to the whole man. I just didn't want to come across too critical. We are all broken...well, most people I know.

      Delete
  4. Replies
    1. Thank you Hermit-writer! I wish I could accomplish a fraction of what you have.

      Delete
  5. I have to agree with you and say no one can comment on what is right for us. we all have our faults and thank goodness for people that can forgive us and accept us.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. forgive and accept... bumps and all. :))))

      Delete
  6. dear Shannon,

    what joy to read this post and hear the happiness of you and your Love shining through; celebrate and savor every drop of the deliciousness of who and what you adore. and I am so happy that your beautiful Kerry came through for you!

    much love,

    Karen XOXO

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Karen! I love hearing from you. xoxoShannon

      Delete
  7. Shannon!! I loved this post. A lost piece of your puzzle has been found. The edges are jagged, but it still fits. That is pretty awesome.

    Nothing in this life is perfect. So enjoy the good stuff. All of it.

    Happy 55!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Renn! yes, nothing is perfect.... especially monkeyME

      Delete
  8. People be damned
    the heart wants
    what the heart wants
    Who's to say
    What's right
    Or wrong
    How do you stay strong
    If the heart
    Says stay
    When it's time
    To go
    People be damned
    Who's to say
    What's right
    Or wrong
    The heart wants
    What the heart needs
    Why fight
    It's too strong

    Chris mcqueeney

    Happy birthday Shannon

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ahhhhhh!!!! thank you Chris. well said my wise friend! :) yes, the heart wants what the heart needs. no reason to fight it.

      Delete
  9. Relationships are SO complicated. Anyone who judges you for reuniting needs to realize they can't possibly know how it is to be you. Happy birthday!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yes.... they sure are. Look forward to seeing you on the playa this year! I miss it so!!!

      Delete
  10. Happy Birthday Shannon and what a nice gift - a round of forgiveness and an open heart for all!

    ReplyDelete
  11. The world has been blessed with a glorious monkey for 55 years now :-)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hey, Green Monkey, you look smashing in these photos, and it's easy to see how happy everyone is. Good for you both, moving forward together.

    ReplyDelete
  13. So very happy to read this post and enjoy a catch up. I am so pleased for you, onwards and upwards. As you may know I had an awful 2013 myself and have not been visiting other blogs much although I am still blogging as you have discovered. It was great to read you are now following me via Bloglovin. :)

    ReplyDelete
  14. Love is the answer. Happy birthday, Shannon.

    ReplyDelete
  15. happy super belated birthday, i just wanted to say that dog is just the sweetest thing ever!!

    ReplyDelete
  16. So glad to hear the were celebrated by those you love and who love you. Happy Birthday, Shannon.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Happy Birthday Shannon, I am lost for words because I do not know how to tell you how precious it is to be able to get back together with your husband

    ReplyDelete
  18. I cried reading this. Why is it I always cry when I visit? But, rest assured, this was a happy cry - YOU LOOK FABULOUS!! even with a Berner in your crotch. :D Happy Birthday Sweetheart.

    Since you were generous to share the whole story with me, I guess I can understand others' thoughts on your reunion with #3. But we are all human, imperfect with flaws a plenty. But I do know people can and do change and that is what second [third? fourth?] chances are for. Your honesty is always refreshing, but to share this is quite breathtaking. But may I say "Thank you" for sharing your happiness. You so deserve it.

    As always, I wish you well. Hugs and love!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Sorry I haven't been getting on blogger much. What a great way to spend your birthday!!!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Shannon, you are the ONLY person I know who can look gorgeous after what all you've been through! I'm SO HAPPY that you celebrated your birthday YOUR way, too!! And as far as anyone being critical of any of your choices, all I can say is "How dare them?? Have they lived through ANY of the things you have??" I'm so grateful that our lives have crossed!! Big hugs...xoxoxo

    ReplyDelete
  21. I am so happy for you Shannon. about you and your husband as well. I doubt you remember me, but I was one of your neighbors on Breast Cancer,Org, [the Autistic one with the ill son who was very sad and live at a nudist ranch] I am so relieved that you are doing better [and thinking of going bigger? Girl, I remember when you were considering the possibility of no reconstruction at all]

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Vicki Blum... of course I remember you! your zest for life is unforgettable. How are you? thank you so much for reaching out.

      Delete
  22. I also lost a son, my first born, six years ago. It has gotten easier, but it still creeps up on me in times of silence and I realize that the grief is as palpable as ever. I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer in March of last year. I finished treatment and am nearly done with reconstruction now. I feel very strongly that grief can cause illness. I read a very interesting article on German New Medicine in which the author spells out how loss of a child leads to breast cancer in the mother if the feelings are not completely processed. Very interesting stuff.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for encouraging my JOY of writing. By reading and commenting you are feeding my soul, stroking my heart, and in the end...making me a better writer.

Thank You For Encouraging My Joy of Writing

Thank You For Encouraging My Joy of Writing
greenmonkeytales@live.com

Shannon E. Kennedy

***

Photo by Joan Harrison