We think of our birthdays as celebrations with parties, presents, balloons, cake and candles to blow out with a wish... Since cancer, I have felt like every day is a gift, so it's like my birthday every day. Feeling this way changes a person. It means ordering dessert first at a restaurant. It means eating ice cream for breakfast. It means dancing in the middle of Costco with my daughter to a song only the two of us can hear. Every day, it means being presented with the most precious of gifts. It means taking this gift in my hands and holding it and unwrapping it. Sometimes, tearing into it. Sometimes, carefully, slowly revealing what is inside. Every day, feeling incredibly grateful. Every day, feeling deeply humbled to be offered this gift.
The day I was born, I was welcomed into the loving arms of my mom and dad and big sister, Amy. I cried that day. They smiled at me. They comforted me and let me know I was safe in their arms. Birth is the beginning of a life that will end someday, but none of us were thinking of it like that. Not then. We were falling in love with each other, getting ready for a lifetime of adventures...
A day will come when each of us will open our last gift. Everyone who has come to know us and love us will cry and miss us and struggle to move forward without us. When this day is my day, I hope you will find ways to hold and comfort and keep each other safe.
My 34th birthday started with a goodbye to my sweet, stubborn, loving mother-in-law, Ireane. She was 71 years young. Ireane loved God. She believed. She was not afraid to die. Rest in peace, Ireane, safe in God's arms.