Thursday, August 26, 2010

Birthday week

Some people spend a week or longer celebrating their birthdays.  A friend from work spent the entire month of January celebrating his birthday this year, complete with a party full of out-of-state guests.  Well, this is my birthday week and I'm not exactly celebrating.

My sister, whom I visited in Boston earlier this month, is drawing her final breaths.  Her cancer seemed to flare up right after I left Boston, and she is not expected to make it through the week.

I still send her a couple of emails each day, but I don't know if she's able to read them.  I received what is undoubtedly the last email that I'll ever receive from her on Monday. 

She started asking me what I wanted for my birthday weeks ago, and all I could think of was that she had far bigger problems than what to get me for my birthday.  I never really answered.

Today a box arrived at my door from Boston, with my niece's return address.  My birthday is Saturday, but I couldn't wait to see if there was anything in the box from my sister, so I opened it.

It's not totally clear, but I think there's a card from her.  I don't recognize the handwriting on the envelope, but I know she has become very weak.  She wouldn't want me to open it until Saturday, so I won't.  There are wrapped presents in the box, and I think 2 of them are from my sister.

She sent me a gift for my birthday 2 years ago.  She had just been diagnosed with cancer of the tongue, and I couldn't bring myself to open the present for several months.  It was too precious.  It was from my sister, whose future was now in jeopardy.

Heaven knows when I'll open the gifts which just arrived.  I've already opened my last email from her.  The thought of opening my last gift from my sister turns my stomach inside out.


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5 comments:

Lynilu said...

Oh, Betty, I'm so sorry. I'll wish you a happy birthday, knowing that it might not be all you would want. Peace in my birthday wish for you.

Aurora said...

Oh Betty, my heart aches for both of you. How incredibly loving of her to think of you and act on it when her strength is so low.

Happy upcoming Birthday my dear cyber- friend; even if you spend it in tears at the loss, I still wish you much happiness when the time is less poignant and grief-stricken.

Anonymous said...

I'm with Aurora...
My heart totally aches for you...
I wish I was there to hug you...
and to help you get through
all that is to come...

I also wish you a very happy
birthday!!!!!! I know your sister
would want you to celebrate it...
So don't be ashamed or afraid
to open the gifts sent to you...
They are to help you get through
this...Remember not the bad
but the good...Remember not the
tears but the laughter...
Remember not the pain but the
love...

HUGS!!!!!!!!!

Laurie

ps. SOOOO sorry it has been so
long since I have been on here...
I've been kinda busy...
I do still think of you and the
child and you are both always
in my thoughts and prayers!

Big Dave T said...

Best wishes for your birthday, even if it seems out of synch with your situation there. When I came here I was dreading news like this. Sometimes loved ones hold on in situations like this just to see their significant family members one last time. And she did and it sounded like you had a nice visit. You have to appreciate that. It must have meant a lot to her, really to you both.

With birthdays, I'm like the character you described first. It's my birthday week. In fact, I tried to convince others that this year was the "summer of my birthday." Nobody bought in though.

Priyamvada_K said...

Dear Betty,
Happy birthday to you. Wishing you peace, and calm. What a loving sister you have - such a thoughtful gesture on her part. Hold her for all you've got, and leave the rest to God. It is tough to see a loved one with cancer, and being helpless in the situation. May He bring your family peace and strength.

Priya.