I have done this before. Counted the days and weeks to an important event. One spring many years ago I counted the moments until my wedding, filled with thoughts of pearl-embroidered silk and waltzing with my dear groom to be. While stroking my heavy belly, singing to my unborn baby, I counted the days until I would meet my first and then my second child. And now, I am counting the weeks and days until my first book is published, and experiencing the familiar bubbles in my stomach and the overpowering feeling of change and grateful disbelief: is this really happening?
I’m reminded of another countdown in my life, of an altogether different manner. That time, I was not looking forward in excited anticipation but futilely trying to hold onto each passing day as it faded into twilight and slipped from my fingers. A countdown when I looked at the number on the calendar, wondering: will that be my last day? Looking at the date was like staring into the blackness of a vast night sky, where will I be that day? On this date was written “heart surgery” and after this date, there were no more marks, no plans, no appointments, only an unwritten question mark, that gave all the days leading up to it a new weight, tying me closer to all that I loved.
The dreaded day came and went and I survived. This is what it taught me. Every day is a big event. To wake up, open my eyes, feel my scarred heart beat its steady rhythm, hear my family get ready for school and work and to smile to myself: I am here. Nevertheless, I still count the days until September 15 when I will wake up to declare: I am here and today my story goes out into the world.
This post was originally published on She Writes, the world’s largest platform for women writers with 26 000 members.