She is always smiling.
I last saw her on Christmas Day, standing in my mom’s driveway in her down coat. The sun was shining, which it rarely does here in December and that made me happy because she loves the sun, as I do. She was smiling. She is always smiling.
The news came a few days before Christmas. Cancer. The lab report from her biopsy saying it had spread to surrounding tissue, then an MRI that showed the involvement of three lymph nodes. It had been over a year since her symptoms caused her to start seeing doctors. Numerous doctors. They all misdiagnosed it. None of them did a biopsy.
Apparently, it’s an easy cancer to miss, but that doesn’t make the news easier to bear. On January 9th, she starts five weeks of radiation (with two full weeks of in-patient chemo thrown in). I think there are a lot of days ahead when I won’t see her smiling. That’s okay. I don’t want her to. I want her to get mad and tough and put up the fight of her life.
I just talked to her and told her that it’s a good thing she’s scrappy. I once saw her and another one of my sisters having a fistfight that was a lot like Rocky, but with more hair-pulling and face scratching. I know she will get through this, because she is amazing. The only problem is that she is the one who always lifts our spirits. We have really big shoes to fill.
On this, the eve of her birthday, I didn’t end the call by saying, “Happy birthday!” or “Happy New Year!” Instead I said, “We are praying.”
I hope that made her smile.