cocounut cream pie

Starting Over at 51

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Yesterday was my birthday. I turned 51, and I’m starting over AGAIN. I received over 400 birthday wishes on Facebook and with every one of them, I realized I’d trade all the birthday wishes in the world for one person who truly loved and cared about me, right here in person, to spend my birthday with.


As I write this I feel ungrateful because I did have my dad with me. I spent a little time with him, but not much because I devoted the morning to completing the Breakthrough Experience exercise from Dr. John Demartini’s The Breakthrough Experience. I wanted to collapse the negative and positive aspects of my relationship with my husband. I felt it was important to give myself the gift of letting all that go so I could move forward with a clean slate for the new year.

I did have a significant breakthrough with that. It opened my eyes to where I had done the same things he’s doing, and that I have absolutely no right to judge any of it. Frankly, that in itself was rather depressing to admit. Yet, the process was liberating. I don’t feel anymore resentment or anger toward him, and that’s a good thing.

Then I taught a class. I love the people I teach and it was good to see their faces. After that I helped my two college-age kids do the final signatures on their FASFA applications (not in person).

Realizing What I Didn’t See

After that, I sat down and read one of my mom’s journals. This was not a good move. While there were some happy experiences in there, there was a lot of pain and unhappiness too. I had never fully grasped how lonely she was in her later years. She lived for her children and we were all too busy with our own lives and families to take much time to come visit her.

She made excuses for us though… that we were all trying to earn a living and then too exhausted after that to visit. But she was so incredibly lonely and there were other things that I should have seen. I ended up taking a drive to the store to get myself a coconut creme pie and bawled the whole way, telling my mother how sorry I was I didn’t make more time for her, didn’t do more for her.

The woman did SO much for me. She helped me so many times when she didn’t even have enough for herself. Where was I when she needed me most? Consumed with my own life.

Deciding What I Want to Create

Besides feeling bad about being a crappy daughter, I then began to think of my own life. Here I am at 51 STARTING OVER AGAIN. Good grief, shouldn’t I have my life figured out by now? I really don’t want to be alone and miserable in the last decades of my life.

I can’t fault my mother at all for her perspective or the serious challenges she faced. I am not saying she should have been “more positive” and “looked for the good” or “found other interests.” Sometimes the good is just really hard to see.

Still, I want to create something beautiful with my life that doesn’t go away when my kids are grown and off having their own lives — which is what I’m raising them to do. I want them to be independent. I want them to flourish. And so did my mom. She rejoiced in our successes. She was proud of us.

Tangible Relationships

I want to have REAL people in my life… not just virtual birthday wishes and friends scattered all over the country who I can’t sit down with face-to-face and have a conversation with or hug.

When my mom was alive, I called her and talked with her through instant messenger multiple times each week. But, the fact was, she was here alone while my dad did his thing and she did hers. And she really wanted that face-to-face connection with me — with us.

As I go forward with my life, I want to build more of those real, tangible, face-to-face connections somehow. And I’m not going to sit around expecting that to be my kids who have their own lives to live and their own families to raise.

I’m rambling, but this is where I am… after the single most depressing birthday of my life. I did eat some pizza and pie with my dad, and sat down and watched one episode of Continuum on Netflix. I started falling asleep at the end, so I shut off the computer after it was over and dozed off. I ended up sleeping through the night. I needed it. It’s been a long 8.5 weeks.

My  mind has processed so much it’s utterly exhausted. I’m ready for a shut down and a fresh reboot… maybe I could win the lottery and wake up on a beach with some friends.

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Posted in Losing My Mom.


  1. Hi Marnie. I’d like to be on that beach with you and maybe we can sing some songs together. Ever think of having another retreat? Maybe something to do with healing? Let me know if you do😀

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