The Day I Turned 27

by Heather on September 29, 2010

Shanna is on Faces of Beauty today!  Make sure you stop by!

Please vote for me to make it to Round 3 in Project Food Blog! :)

When I was younger I always dreamed about what being 21 would look like.  And then 25…surely 25 would be the golden age where everything would be right in the world and I’d have everything together.  Life would be perfect.  I never dreamed about what it would be like to be 27.

Shocker:  it’s no different than any other age :)  Although I suppose I’m one year older and one year wiser, right?

Yesterday started off great!  Nate took me to Panera Bread for breakfast where we split a cinnamon roll the size of my head:

And I ordered my favorite sandwich, the breakfast power sandwich.  You guys, it’s not to say that the other Panera breakfast options are bad, but this one is just SO GOOD. The sharp Vermont cheddar gets me every time…in fact I’m drooling just thinking of it now.

We got to work where there were more cinnamon rolls and a birthday cake for me (READ: SUGAR OVERLOAD) and all of the sweet people I work with were so kind and stopped by to say hi and wish me a happy birthday.

However, around mid-day I got a call from my dad saying that my grandfather’s health is rapidly deteriorating.  Enough so that my dad and his siblings and their spouses are all flying out to California to be with him and my grandmother.  I had no idea this was happening until he was actually IN California, which definitely threw me for a loop.  Instantly I was transported back to a similar situation 8 years ago.

My Mimi had had colon cancer for a long time, and we all knew that it was bad, but she was so joyful about celebrating life in the moment.  I loved that she would lay in her bed and talk about totally inappropriate things she’d seen on Oprah like it wasn’t a big deal that my sister was barely in high school.  Hey, she was our Mimi – who cared what she talked about?!  We were just glad to hear her!

A few months later (a week before my 19th birthday) we got a call saying that she’d only been given a few months to live, so my mom and I picked up and drove down to the Texas Hill Country to the hospital she was at.  When we got in that night Mimi was awake with a smile on her face and a hug for everyone.  Her husband and daughters and I huddled around her, soaking in everything we could.  That night I slept on the floor of the hospital outside of her room.

The next morning I woke up to hear her moaning and looked around for a nurse or my mom or her sisters.  No one.  I went into the room.  Mimi needed to go to the bathroom, so I pulled the portable potty over and helped her to it.  I’m not going to describe what I saw, but it was enough to make me choke back tears while I helped her.  And I will remember that forever.  At this point she was incoherent, and by that afternoon I was being rushed into her room to say good-bye.  I don’t know if she could hear me, but I spoke about how I loved her, how I loved that she would yell and curse just because, how her booming laughter brightened my day, how watching her with her daughters made me so happy to have her as a Mimi, and how her marriage to my Grandpa was something beautiful to see.  I watched as my mom, aunts, and grandfather cried around me, and how we all breathed a sigh of relief for Mimi when she was gone.  She wasn’t hurting anymore.  She was happy.  And she was with Jesus.

The next couple of weeks were a blur.  And to be honest I don’t think it really hit me what I had experienced until a few months later.  To this day I can’t hear “It Is Well With My Soul” without sobbing and calling my sister.  That was my first true experience with death, and even though I know that Mimi is happy now, it’s taken a while to let her spot in my heart be filled with joy again.

All that to say I’m heartbroken to know that my Papa is in a similar situation now.  I wish airfare wasn’t so expensive to fly to California.  I wish I could go hug him, just in case it’s the last chance I get.  I wish I could see him smack my Grandma on the butt and call her a hottie one more time.  I don’t know if I’ll ever get to do that, but I do know that he is being loved on and cared for by his family as we speak.  So Papa:  whatever happens, I love you.  I hope that you are comfortable and happy and able to smile and rejoice in the life around you.  And just know that when you leave us, whenever that is, you will be leaving a group of people who love you so very much.  But we will rejoice in your incredible life and give thanks that we got to know you for even a second on this earth.  I love you!

Sorry guys, it was a hard birthday and I had to just write.  Just document.  Just spill my guts a little.  Thank goodness I have an incredible husband who was willing to change plans because I was too sad to get dressed up and go to the nice Italian restaurant we’d planned on.  All I wanted at the end of the day yesterday was to put on workout clothes and go to Rock Bottom Brewery for nachos and a sampling of fried green chile mac ‘n’ cheese.  I wanted to sit outside and talk to my husband.  I wanted to eat something familiar.  And he blessed me by letting me pick anything I wanted.  Thank you sweetie, you are the best husband I could ever dream of!

I know this post is pretty heavy, but my hope and prayer for every single person who visits this page is that you would tell the people you love that you LOVE them.  That you would celebrate life to its fullest.  That you wouldn’t waste a single second of your time here in a dead-end job, a crappy relationship, disordered thinking and/or eating.  That you would love, laugh, forgive, cry, and never forget that you are a beautiful, amazing creation just the way you are.

I love you guys :)

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{ 53 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Tina September 29, 2010

You spill your guts any way you want! Sorry it wasn’t a sweeter birthday for you. I will be sure to keep praying for your Papa. Love to you!!

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2 Joslyn @ missfitbliss September 29, 2010

Heather this is such a beautiful post! I’m seriously tearing up over here!

It sounds like the news you got on your birthday is both a gift and a curse. It sometimes helps to have news like this jolt us back into a very sharp consciousness of the lives we lead and the ones we love. But it is difficult to imagine the outcome.

You are handling it beautifully and I think your honesty is such a gift. Thank you for sharing your story with us. We love you too!!

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3 Apicius' Apprentice September 29, 2010

Thank you for sharing this with us, Heather. I’ll keep you and yours in my prayers. I hope he’s ok.

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4 couchpotatoathlete September 29, 2010

Heather this was a great post! I love honesty like this and it is nice to read real emotion. Sorry about your Papa — I’ll be thinking of him and your family.

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5 Salah September 29, 2010

I love you. This made me cry. I hope papa will be ok…. I’m praying. I want to give him one last hug too and tell the “cool hunk” goodbye and I love him with all my heart.

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6 Nic September 29, 2010

Oh girl. I’m sorry to hear about your Papa. I’ll keep you in my thoughts and hope only the best for him!

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7 fittybitty September 29, 2010

i’m so glad i’m at home and not crying at my desk at work right now. That was such a beautiful, heartfelt post and I’m so glad that you felt like sharing it. I’m sorry to hear your day didn’t go as planned.
Happy Birthday Heather, I hope that you have a better day today and that your Papa finds the peace he deserves. He sounds like a wonderful man.

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8 thewaterfaucet September 29, 2010

I love you.

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9 Tabitha (From Single to Married) September 29, 2010

What a tender story and yet a difficult thing to experience too. My heart goes out to you and your family and I hope you’ll be able to be with them in California. Thanks for the reminder to treasure the moments we are given and to live life to the fullest.

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10 Natalia - a side of simple September 29, 2010

Oh, Heather, know that you and your family are in my prayers. I enjoy reading your blog so much and your strength never ceases to amaze me. Thank you for being so inspiring. Love you, girl!

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11 G @ nutritious foodie September 29, 2010

Oh Heather, this was a beautiful post. It brought tears to my eyes. I am glad you wrote what was in your heart and got it out. I am so sorry to hear about your Papa, you and your family are in my thoughts and my prayers.

xoxo.

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12 rachael September 29, 2010

Beautiful post. All my best to you and your family.

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13 R @ Learning As I Chop September 29, 2010

So sorry to hear about your grandpa a and grandma. Cancer really is the worst

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14 Liz @ Tip Top Shape September 29, 2010

I had a similar experience with one of my relatives and I know exactly how you feel. It is hard to watch someone’s health deteriorate and I am so sorry that you have to go through this, and especially on your birthday. It’s good, though, that you have someone like your husband to be with you at this time. Stay strong and know that you and your family are in all of your readers’ thoughts.

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15 Liz @ LBBakes September 29, 2010

This gave me the chills – life is short.

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16 Heather September 29, 2010

Such a beautiful post, so much so that anything I could say would diminish it. Thank you for sharing… prayers for your Papa.

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17 Angela September 29, 2010

You and your family are in my prayers. That was such a beautiful post. There is clearly so much love and your family so you will get through this. And never apologize for sharing the tough stuff! We’re here to listen.

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18 Shanna, like Banana September 29, 2010

Well I live in Cali so I will send all my positive proximity vibes to your Grandpa!

Thank you for the shout out for faces-of-beauty. It’s a marvelous movement you started. And you are BEAUTIFUL for starting it (and for numerous other reasons).

Hugs to you!

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19 Heather C September 29, 2010

Definitely thinking of you and the Fam – never feel like you need to explain the “heavy” posts, this is your space to write and let out whatever you want ;)

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20 Alyson @ YNL Blog September 29, 2010

oh hun, I’m so sorry.. loving vibes being sent your way!

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21 Amy @ Second City Randomness September 29, 2010

I’m sorry the birthday didn’t go as smoothly as you’d have liked. You and your family are in my thoughts today. :)

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22 Alex @ IEatAsphalt September 29, 2010

I lost my grandparents at a very young age and remember very little of their deaths. I lost my godfather a few years ago and recently found out that my godmother has pancreatic cancer. It is the hardest thing in the world to know that you have to prepare for goodbye with those you love. Remember all of the good things about your grandparents and know that they loved you and would never ever want you to feel any amount of pain or sorrow. And know that we all love you too!

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23 RhodeyGirl September 29, 2010

I’m so sorry Heather.

What you just wrote brought back a lot of memories for me. I can relate to the sadness- even around your birthday. I lost my mom just a few weeks after my 18th, and celebrated (can I even use that word?) with her in her hospice bed. Heartbreaking.

If you need someone to talk to, feel free to write me. I’m so sorry your Papa is going through this.

S

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24 KeepItSweet September 29, 2010

so sorry to hear about your grandfather, i am glad your husband was able to brighten your birthday!

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25 Tasha - the clean eating mama September 29, 2010

I am sending alll of my love and good thoughts to your family right now. beautiful post, Heather. Yes, quite the tear jerker!

I will be 27 in 15 days, too! No wonder I like you so much – I gravitate towards Libras!

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26 Matt September 29, 2010

I will keep you and your family in my thoughts. I hope everything turns out for the best.

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27 Jennifer September 29, 2010

Beautiful post. I experienced a similar thing with my grandma…it’s been 10 years and although it is hard I’m very glad that she is no longer in pain. I know she is with God and smiling down on us. Hang in there and I’m sending prayers from here in California.

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28 Lauren September 29, 2010

Oh Heather, I am so sorry to hear about your grandfather. Please know that you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

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29 Maria September 29, 2010

Aww Heather, I’m so sorry to hear about this, but so glad that you are able to express your feelings in words. That’s what’s so great about blogging.

Your grandpa will be in my thoughts and prayers.

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30 Estela @ Weekly Bite September 29, 2010

Its your blog… and blogging is all about spilling your guts.

I’m so sorry to hear about your grandfather. My thoughts are with your family.

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31 Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman September 29, 2010

I’m so sorry to hear about your grandfather. Your story was so powerful–I almost cried over lunch at work. You and your whole family are in my prayers.

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32 Jacqui September 29, 2010

Sorry to hear about your Grandpa. But glad you had some nice things on your Birthday!

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33 Sarah September 29, 2010

THANK YOU for sharing this. I am keeping this particular entry in my Google Reader to come back to (again and again.) This particular part hit me in the gut: “…my hope and prayer for every single person who visits this page is that you would tell the people you love that you LOVE them. That you would celebrate life to its fullest. That you wouldn’t waste a single second of your time here in a dead-end job, a crappy relationship, disordered thinking and/or eating. That you would love, laugh, forgive, cry, and never forget that you are a beautiful, amazing creation just the way you are.”
I needed that.

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34 Sarah September 29, 2010

I didn’t finish my last comment. Here we go!
Heather, I truly hope you and your papa are okay. Thank you for being such a breath of fresh air even while you are going through this.

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35 LiveForTheRun September 29, 2010

Sending you well wishes. You’re in my thoughts.

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36 Brittany (A Healthy Slice of Life) September 29, 2010

Sending love your way. Thinking of you Heather!

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37 Amber's Notebook September 29, 2010

I’m so sorry heather! Not at all how you want to spend your birthday! Sending you lots of hugs and thoughts your way. xoxo

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38 Tabs September 29, 2010

I’m so sorry to hear about your papa! Your family is in my prayers today. And thank you for sharing the story about your mimi and the reminder that we need to show and tell people we love them on a regular basis.

And what a wonderful husband you have to know exactly how to take care of you and encourage you in such a hard moment.

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39 Becky September 29, 2010

Happy birthday! We went through all of the same with Josh’s dad this past year during a time that should have been exciting and fun in our life. The juxtapositions in life (really good and really sad at the same time) are the times when I see God the most clearly. I hope yesterday was that for you. Blessings

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40 Kim in MD September 29, 2010

Wow-what an emotional birthday you had, Heather! I am tearing up as I type this. I am terribly sorry to hear about your grandfather. My mother passed away suddenly at the young age of 58 10 years ago, and I miss her every day. My thoughts and prayers are with you and you family during this difficult time.

Love your words of inspiration, especially your last line-

That you would love, laugh, forgive, cry, and never forget that you are a beautiful, amazing creation just the way you are.

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41 itisallaboutbalance September 29, 2010

Beautiful post! Every prayer counts I like to say! Well 27 is my favorite number so I think that is just a dandy age :) Best Wishes to you. I’ll stop back around your blog more often now! xoxoxo

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42 katecooks September 29, 2010

im glad you have this outlet to write and share these memories. sending good vibes to your grandpa right now!

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43 Jessica @ How Sweet September 29, 2010

I am so late on this but I think I’ve said everything there is to say. <3

Love you!

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44 Nicole @ making good choices September 29, 2010

I’m thinking of you and your family. Your post brought me to tears, you are so lucky to have the support of your husband.

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45 lpskins September 29, 2010

And, I’m bawling. xo

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46 theprocessofhealing September 29, 2010

What a sad but beautiful post Heather… the end especially. So true.
My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family love.

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47 kbwood September 29, 2010

WOW girl- this is so beautiful. God is keeping you strong girl, you keep leaning on HIM. you are wonderful. hugs and prayers!

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48 Katherine September 29, 2010

What a great post. I am so sorry to hear about what you and your family are going through.

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49 Judith T. Ayers September 29, 2010

Heather we love you too for sharing with us these beautiful sentiments that mean so much at the thought of someone we love leaving earth. Even when we know they will be in a better place, it’s a difficult time.
I’m glad that you have an amazing husband who knows how to love and support you and to allow you to just do whatever you want.
It will be a memorable 27th birthday. God bless you and your family.

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50 Penny Lane September 30, 2010

Prayers for you and your family.

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51 Dorry September 30, 2010

Beautiful post – loved the last paragraph and couldn’t agree more. Life is too precious to waste time. Keeping you and your family in my prayers…and so thankful you have such a supportive, loving husband. :)

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52 Marie-Sophie September 30, 2010

I’m a bit late on posting as I had a few days to catch up on … but I was sobbing as I read this. It was so familiar!
My grandma died about two years ago and she’d had a bad stroke and was really struggling so I knew it was kind of coming soon … but when I had to write my first state exam in law (which is two weeks long and is four 5hour exams in each week), my mum told me after my first week of exams that my grandma had died two days before and she couldn’t bring herself to tell me during the exams. It was hard as I couldn’t say goodby anymore and I spent the weekend cleaning up her room at the old people’s home and my free day in the next week of exams attending her funeral and crying many many tears.
So when my grandpa’s health deteriorated a few months ago I made sure to sit by his bed the next time I went there and said “you are the best grandpa in the world and I just wanted to say that I love you very much”. And even though he was really weak and basically wouldn’t react to his enviroment at all, he suddenly lifted his hand and put it on my head. That meant the world to me.

I love the message at the end of your post – we really should remember this more often! Don’t forget that life is short and is meant to be filled with good things, love and laughter!
Hope your grandpa gets well soon!
*bighugfromovertheocean*

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53 janetha September 30, 2010

Well first I have to say happy birthday, and you are right.. 27 is no different. I remember when I was 20 I dated a guy who was 27. I thought he was ancient. I guess now he is 34! And I am 27. And feel normal.

Moving onto the more serious note of this post, I am sorry about the news and even more sorry you can’t get over to California to be with your family. I was never close with my grandparents so I cannot say I relate, but it does sound like the bond you have with your grandfather is something else. Hang in there. <3

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