I Want You to Have More Birthdays

It's taken me a while to write about this.  As I sit at my desk quietly getting some things done this evening, I am surrounded by pictures of my mom.  Chillin' in a hammock during her trip to DR in '09, with me at the park that same year weeks before I got pregnant, holding the frog princess at her first birthday party.  In this last picture, she looks directly at me with a smirk.  So many words in that image.  So many answers to my questions.

Mami was diagnosed with cholangiocarcinoma (bile duct cancer) on April 6th, 2010.  I'd been working from home that day as I was having some work done on the house. She was on her way to my house with the people that were coming over when I got the call that the surgeon wanted to see us. I dashed off with the baby and mom.  My sister met us at the doctor's office.  I don't remember what I wore.  Don't remember the exact words I said. I know that I knew the reason we were there and was being dismissive so as to dissipate the tension.  I remember Dr. McDonald being so sympathetic and so apologetic. I didn't know this enemy yet but, he did.  My mom took it well. Sat back and shrugged her shoulders.  We grabbed tacos on the way home afterwards.  She told the people that were here at home that it was no big deal, that she'd be fine.  A year ago, she was healthy.  And though she'd been recovering from the laparoscopic surgery she was still able to hold the frog princess, play with her.

Ten months later, almost to the day, mami died.  Leaving behind a trail of joy and sorrow unlike anything that I've ever experienced.  Leaving me an orphan at 35.  Leaving behind a world of wisdom unmatched.  Leaving behind a legacy.  To do for others even when they do not appreciate it. But to make sure no one was taken advantage of. To hold our heads up high with pride and to always follow our hearts. Above all, to love in earnest and to cherish honesty. That the world has a way of giving back to you what you give out to it.

I've been doing the Relay for years.  After dad was diagnosed and went into remission with throat cancer in '07, I walked in his honor.  I keep going back and forth as to whether I will actually walk next week.  If you've ever done one of these events you know it's high with emotion.  I am not sure I'll be able to withstand it.  It's just the frog princess and I on our team this year.  I think it's poetic justice to a certain extent.

My Voxeo family was SO generous with me. I lost mom less than a month after I started working there. Within 24 hours of mami passing, they'd made a donation to my team. I was so humbled by that.  And I heard mami's voice in my head telling me as she'd told me so many times before during my courtship with this company that this was a good place for me.

It is difficult when you experience such loss because you also tend to experience a great deal of blessings.  Losing mami hasn't made me bitter (though I have my angry days). I find that there is lots of good in this world.  Lots of generosity and lots of love.

I have one week to meet my modest team goal of $3,000.  The frog princess has raised $25 on her own (I need her to get it moving and get on an email campaign! ;-) ).

Mami lost her battle with cancer 4 days before her 65th birthday.  It is important for me to support this cause because I want other people to not miss theirs.  Because I want you to have more birthdays even if she could not.  I pray that you can help me reach my goal.  Every little bit helps.  Every little bit counts.

They have these luminarias that you can purchase in honor of a loved one.  They're personalized with that person's name.  The luminarias line the track and are lit during the ceremony. They also spell out words on the bleachers. Hope. Cure.  I wish that they'd spell out Love. If you could participate in a local Relay, who would you walk for?  If you could post a message to a loved one that's been taken by cancer, what would you say? I have too many words to say to be confined by a beautiful paper bag. So I say it in my blog. But for the luminaria, it's simple: you are loved.  Mami gave love to the world and the world loved her back.  I'm steadily trying to follow her footsteps and pray that her namesake will do the same.

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