My Not-So-Happy Birthday

Yesterday I turned 45. Initially I had planned out a thought provoking journaling experience chronicling the 45 days to my turning 45. But things didn’t turn out the way that I had planned. Instead, it was a painful trip down memory lane while watching my family endure our darkest time ever.

As you may already know, my sister is battling stage 4 lung cancer that has spread to her brain and bones…all because of Those Damn Cigarettes!

Well, what is most painful about this is that I’m 2000 miles away, while my mother, step-dad, sister, cousin and aunt are pushing themselves well past their physical, emotional and financial limits to make sure that my sister Ronnie feels the abundance of love, care, tenderness, support and dignity that any one of us would expect in our final moments. I’m doing all I can from this distance but I so wish I could do more to help.

On my birthday, I sat on the phone, silently praying, while listening to my mom talk to Ronnie…so tenderly, and I heard how gently and patiently she is loving my sister. As the tears streamed down my face I could only imagine how my mother’s heart is breaking through it all.

In that moment, I was so thankful that she trusts God and is leaning on Him for strength and I know that God will continue to give mom everything she needs. And then I paused to say a prayer for her healing and restoration.

I was distracted by my little Chloe as she ran by me dancing, and I was reminded that Ronnie is my mom’s Chloe. More than my sister, that’s Mom’s baby girl lying there suffering and the thought of it hurts me to my core. I honestly feel so helpless.

I’ve been longing to go home to visit for a while now…but not like this. The last time I was home Chloe was only 6 months old. I had dreamed about the day that I could introduce her to her family and she could feel the love, the fun, the laughs and the joy that so freely flows when we’re all together. But now…everything and everyone is so different. Everyone is hurting. Will it feel like home? Or will we all be so terribly sad and emotionally spent?

I’m trying to stay positive. But I’m also choosing to be honest and allow my emotions, however raw they may be, to be seen, felt and fully validated, so that I can move through them and not get stuck in the sadness of it all.

You really never know how you will handle grief until it hits you. Yes, you can say all the right things and even convince yourself how you would stand on faith and believe God. But the truth is, until you are in that moment, until you feel the depths of that sadness…the helplessness of watching everyone you deeply love, completely filled with despair, you really have no idea. I hate this! What’s worse is this is much too much for some of my family members to bear.

So, on my birthday, I began planning my trip home to LA. Chloe and I will arrive on Friday. I’m going to try to continue to write my way through this journey. So far, it has been rich with life lessons and I’m sure it will continue to be.

Before I went to bed on the night of my birthday, I opened my facebook and was so filled with love. Over 165 of you took the time to think of me and send me a little love. You have no idea how much I needed that cyber-hug. I appreciate you for standing through this with me.

Before I closed my eyes, I said a prayer that I will see my sister again…that I will be able to hold her and that she will know me…that she might even be able to smile or laugh with me and finally be able to see her little niece Chloe face-to-face.

Whether that dream of mine is realized or not, most of all I want her suffering to end. I know that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. I know that the overwhelming love of our God is what awaits her. I know that she will be free of her ailing body and troubled life…free to live love and be loved to the fullest, throughout eternity. I know that I will see her again, one way or another…and for that I am sooo very grateful.

Thanks for hearing my heart and for keeping me and my family in your prayers. Sending you back some love. Q!

PS ~ If any one of you feels inclined to help, please reach out to me.

You gotta tell me what you think!

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