It’s strange, when you try to imagine the people your parents were and the lives they lived before their children came into the picture. I often try to envision it, with little success. My grandmother had diaries of her life and they’re one of my most valued treasures, for several reasons, but the details, no matter how minuscule, offer a window on what my mother was like as a child and young adult, way before she knew she would one day become the parent of four children, two of whom would be born with multiple disabilities. Sounds like a carefree time to me.
Well, like how I find it odd to imagine the days on which my parents met, got married, and had each of their four children, I find it inconceivable to think of the day of my birth. I was there for that one, obviously, but I do not remember, as if I wasn’t a part of it at all.
I was born via cesarean, as my mother had given birth to my older brother and sister previously. She had a medical reason for being unable to give birth naturally. All this, on that February day in 1984, it all progressed, as to be expected.
She decided to name me Kerry, a “K” name to go along with my big sister, Kim, born two years earlier. Also, the woman who gave birth to a baby boy on the same day, in the bed next to hers, her name was “Kerry”, spelled that way. This would set me apart from most with the same name, often spelled with the more common “C”.
I retell this naming story on occasion, but I would say, along with stories of the day I was born, there would one day be joined, one about my rebirth, thirteen years later.
The day I was born was a cold February day, but the day I was reborn was warm, sunny, and in early June.
Again, I remember none of it, strictly speaking. One moment I was one girl, small and ill, and the next, I awoke to the new life of a transplant recipient. I began, after being reborn, dopey, my new world slowly coming into focus. The beeping of ICU machines gave way to the warm, fuzzy feeling of the first summer of the rest of my life.
Now, one year ahead of my twenty year kidney transplant anniversary and I mark the date, another June fifth coming up fast. Next month signifies the start of my rebirth, as is the context for this FTSF post.
It’s a strange time of year for me, truthfully. As the date passes me by I feel a mixture of gratitude and anxious discomfort, at the state of my life, looking back on all these years hence.
I take stock on how far I’ve come since June 5th, 1997 and sometimes the weight of that milestone dawns on me with such ferocity. We all hit those monumental markers in life, occasions where rebirth is exactly the word we’d use. For me, June means rebirth, as spring is rebirth for so many plants and animals. I try to highlight the date, look on the life I’ve had since then, and adjust accordingly. This is daunting, when I can’t stop assigning to myself what my life should now mean. I don’t want to toss aside the importance of what that single surgery did for me. I can’t and never will.
Rebirth means something to me now, as my birth must have meant, more than thirty years ago, to my parents. It feels like an important starting place, but as yet, I haven’t decided where that might lead.
Host and sentence-thinker-upper: