Today, I’m going to a party to celebrate the first birthday of my cousin’s adorable grandson. As I look forward to seeing everyone and watching that little doll dig into his smash cake, a little part of me is angry… plain and simply, ticked off that Mom cannot be here to enjoy moments like this.

Oh how she loved kids, especially babies. Even in the final stages of her illness, if a baby came into the house, she lit up like a Christmas tree. It was as though she morphed into a completely different person in the presence of a baby, transforming from sullen and essentially unresponsive to happy and animated, even talking a bit! At only 76 years old, she should be here to relish moments like today’s party… but damn this disease for stealing that opportunity from her – from all of us.

Earlier this week, a former co-worker of hers retired and I was invited to his retirement reception. For some reason, this one really got the best of me. I regularly see retirees come into the office to visit friends or attend parties and receptions. They typically look better than ever, as though retirement subtracted years from their age; they’re happy, relaxed, fit, and full of life. Mom never had that chance. She began to decline so soon after retirement that she barely had a chance to take it all in, and at the risk of sounding a little bitter, that’s just not fair.

I know, it is what it is, and now she’s happy and whole again, and in a place more beautiful than any of us can begin to imagine. But one just has to wonder why such simple, yet hard earned pleasures, are taken from perfectly good people much, much too soon. It will never make sense… ever.