On Monday, I celebrated my 49th birthday. It’s hard for me to believe that I have achieved this age however, I wouldn’t change a thing about how I got here. Each year on my birthday, I have the pleasure of celebrating with a very special person named Jack. Jack is 40 years and a day older than me and so we celebrate our birthdays together. Nine years ago, Jack lost his wife Erma to Alzheimer’s disease. That same year, three months later, my dad passed away. Through many miracles of Spirit, Jack came into my mother’s life that November and he has been there since. At age 89, he has more energy than I do and has amazing vitality. He often says to me “If I could bottle what I have and sell it, I’d be a millionaire!”
At 89, Jack goes to work at an engineering company at 6:00 a.m. He works until noon or perhaps a little later if they need him to fill in. Everyone knows him at the plant. In the summers, he also works at the golf course as a Marshall. He says he only does it because he gets to play the game he loves so much. Everyone at the golf course knows Jack. When he and my mom travel, they often come back with a story of the people they randomly met who have some connection to Jack. It’s as if this man has a golden thread woven into the lives of all he meets.
Jack is a man who draws people into him. He has a story for everything. He’s experienced life at many levels, the highs and the lows. He worked hard all his life. He took care of his family. He took care of his wife in her final years, even when she couldn’t remember who he was. He now takes wonderful care of my mother and brings out a side of her that people rarely see. He is a “go with the flow” kind of guy and I respect him for how he presents himself in the world.
This year at our annual birthday dinner, we looked forward to next year. 2013 is a big birthday year for my mom (80), Jack (90) and me (50). It’s encouraging to hear Jack talk about being 90 and it gives me hope that we all will be around for a long time. I don’t ever question my mortality. As long as I live my life with as much passion and vitality as Jack, I know I will have touched many lives. He inspires me to be a better person. He inspires me to be happy. He inspires me to be me, and for that, I love him.