When I was 12 years old, it was the beginning of bar and bat mitzvah season. I went to 22 celebrations over the course of 14 months. My mom and aunts started trading out formal wear with my cousins so that we wouldn’t be caught in “that old thing.”
When I was 17, we started the cycle of graduation parties – sometimes three stacked in a day. By 22, it was the college graduation circuit. At 23, the weddings started – at first, it was one or two a year, but by the time I was 25, there was one every other month. Not to mention the engagement parties. (And of course, not including the ones that I officiated).
Then there was the series of house-warming parties for our new home-owner friends a few years ago, followed by the welcoming the string of babies.
In the past few months, I feel like most of the people I know are touched by cancer – not just CrabbyCancerMan’s, but other friends and relations and those important to them. Each week we’re sending more cards and well wishes around, talking first time caregivers through what to do. Are we in “cancer season?” What a terrible, soul-shaking thing to think about! That there might be a “season” to cancer, that there is a time in one’s life set aside for this awful trope. I thought maybe it was just me, and I’m noticing it more because that’s the moment of life that we’re in. But it’s not just me, I’ve asked around – it seems a whole host of us – those who were in the graduation/wedding/house/baby cycle with us, if they are not fighting the dragon, or caring for someone who has cancer, it is a mother, an uncle, a friend, a neighbor. And it wasn’t this way a few years ago – it wasn’t hitting that close to home, it wasn’t taunting our lives on the margins.
I am 32 years old. I am way too young for this to be my season.
I talk to my grandmother about once a week. She’s in ridiculously good shape for someone her age – she’s 83 (I think), and works out every single day. Actually, she doesn’t just work out – she’s an aerobics instructor, and her class still kicks my tuchas (although I’d never admit it to her). She told me that there comes to be a time in your life where you go to more funerals than weddings, and that’s just the way life is for a while. It’s sad, but you accept it, and you say your goodbyes and you fight to make sure that you get another day. Then your friends’ grandchildren start getting married, and you go to more weddings than funerals. It’s just the way life is.
I shake with rage when I think of what season might come next. I’m really hoping it’s the season of bunnies and cupcakes.