It was July 24, 2007…my 26th birthday. It was a Tuesday. I didn’t work that day. I decided I should take the day off to be home with The Man and Hannah. I vividly remember being in the kitchen making egg salad sandwiches for us when my Motorola Razor cell phone rang. The caller ID said it was my mom’s sister, my aunt, on the other line. My aunt and I didn’t talk on the phone often since I moved away from home but every time I visited I made sure we went to see her because I was very close to her growing up. She had 2 boys and my sisters and I were the only daughters she had. She loved us like we were her own and the feeling was mutual for me. I quickly answered the phone and I remember telling The Man that I bet she was calling to tell me happy birthday.
She did tell me happy birthday.
Then she told me that my dad was dead.
I am sure that life is full of so many memories but there are maybe 20 or so that actually stand out that you can describe what you were wearing or doing at that exact moment.
At the moment my aunt called me to tell me my dad died suddenly during a liver transplant I didn’t even know he was having, I was standing in my kitchen making egg salad sandwiches.
I never ate that sandwich.
Many things happened after that moment in time including a last minute 22 hour drive to Ohio. There were a lot of mixed emotions due my dad and I having an on and off relationship and many shed tears. I remember thinking back to the last talks I had with my dad that I actually blogged about here and here. (All of the posts about my dad can be found HERE) One thing I have that is a constant memory that I will never, ever forget- my aunt told me.
She told me in the softest, sweetest voice. Even when my voice trembled and I accused her of being mistaken, she was my constant on the other end of the line.
I’m not sure why my mom wasn’t the one to tell me. I don’t know if it was because she was in the hospital at the time due to her MS and couldn’t call me long distance or if she couldn’t handle telling me…either way, I never asked. I didn’t care. My aunt told me my dad was dead, and I’ll never forget that.
Last year my aunt was diagnosed with cancer. She went through many weeks of chemo and radiation and in February was cleared of all her cancer. She had a party at her church to celebrate. I said a little thank you prayer to God for healing her because she’s my mom’s only sibling and I know my mom had been struggling with the fact that she might lose her.
A few weeks ago my mom called me and told me that doctors had found 3 tumors in my aunt’s brain. Amazingly enough, they were able to operate and remove all 3. She is home today, happy and healthy. Yes, she’s facing more chemo and radiation but she’s on a mission to be declared cancer free again.
When I found out she had those brain tumors after having just been declared cancer free I couldn’t help but think of when she so very sweetly and as best she could told me that my dad was gone. I have to believe now that there was a reason why SHE was the one to tell me.
Cancer is a horrible, tragic, awful thing and yet, out of darkness hope is born. She has new hope. We all do.
I just wanted to share this story because she deserves it and because when my dad was alive I complained too much and didn’t share the good things as much as I should have, even when he and I struggled to see eye to eye. We change and evolve as we grow older and sometimes life’s lessons are learned in hard ways.
I love my aunt and appreciate her…I just had to share.
Happy weekend to all y’all.