I held Cindy’s children when they were just hours old and have watched them grow up into the beautiful, responsible teenagers they are today. But beyond sharing vacations and birthday parties, Cindy is an ever-present part of my life. Helping me through the difficult times, as well as celebrating my successes.Christine has been part of my life, like her cousins Kate and Megan. I met Christine’s mother, Ami a few years before she was born; when her sister Caroline was only months old. Over the years we have shared family parties, Thanksgiving Dinner, and her graduation from college. I have had the privilege of watching her grow into the beautiful, strong, intelligent young woman that she is today. It breaks my heart to watch her struggle and there is nothing I can do. She and I have a lot in common and have shared some “pains” of growing up. I see so much of myself in her, and while our diseases are so very different I have a sense that we now have one more common bond. In so many ways she is a role model and gives me strength.
Her Aunt Cindy (my friend and “other” sister) is matter-of-fact and practical. She tells it like it is, in the middle of all the drama. When I was first diagnosed with breast cancer I knew that I had to tell her in person. A phone call or an email just wouldn’t do. We went back and forth a bit on “when” we could get together until I simply stated, “I need to see you.” When I broke the news her first words were, “I’m not going to plan your funeral until you tell me to.” Now that may seem odd to some, but those practical, matter-of-fact words were words of comfort and love. In some ways, only family can talk to you that way.
When Christine got sick, Cindy dropped everything to be there for the family. She did (and does) what needs to get done. She doesn’t obsess about what “might be.” For her, it is about the here and now. A philosophy of: We do what we have to do now to get through this, and we don’t make plans until you tell me otherwise. That’s when you know she’s got your back. That, is family.