Black Ribbons and Coffins


Many years ago I was working at a local Rehabilitation Center. It was my very first Director of Nursing position. I was 24. Promoted young. Idealistic. Optimistic. Unrealistic….. but motivated.

There was another Lisa who worked with me. She was an Occupational Therapist who worked in the Rehab Clinic.

One day, we came to work and there was a girl at the door who met us with black ribbons and asked us to wear them on our lapels all day long in honor of Lisa’s 30th birthday. Black ribbons.. because she turned 30 and we were helping her mourn her youth. Later that day, we were all invited down to the Rehab Clinic for a pot luck lunch, in honor of Lisa’s birthday.

We got down to the Clinic and were presented with a fabulous buffet of great food that people brought in for the occasion. Sandwiches, Chips, veggies, various side dishes and desserts . . . all carefully laid out in a buffet line. All arranged inside a large wooden coffin lined with black fabric.

Lisa, of course, was wearing all black.

Yes, folks who work in health care have an odd sense of humor, at times. It’s what gets us through day, ya know.

I’m thinking of Lisa today because she must be about 45/46 years old, or so. I wonder what they did for her on her 40th birthday?? Did they bury her alive or something equally macabre? And if 30 is an occasion that calls for black ribbons and coffins – – what on earth does 40 bring??

Age is all in the mind of the aging. And we all are.

Today, I woke up to beautiful purple, pink and white orchids on my kitchen table. A handmade birthday card from my daughter. A promise of dinner out later this evening at 7pm… but they won’t say where. And my son called me today and wished me a Happy Birthday and told me he loved me.

That beats black ribbons and coffins any day!

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20 thoughts on “Black Ribbons and Coffins”

  1. Leanne that was the greatest card, evah!

    Ya won’t suck the venom from a snake bite.. but you’ll suck the spilt coffee outta my white sweater. Now THAT is friendship, man! 😡

  2. Happy Birthday! It’s a bit sad, really, for anyone to mourn age and experience and the promise for more to come! Be happy for the past, look to the future, live here and now. :d

  3. Hi Lisa – I hope you had a good day (despite the db issues) and hope that the evening with your family was even better.

    My 40s have been some of the best times in my life. All I can say is bring it on.

  4. Good article. Maybe we can use blue color to represent 30, not the black one. Of course blue color does not mean sadness. We can give it new meaning – aplomb, mature, more attracting after 30 years experience.

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