This week is a special one! There’s birthdays to celebrate, anniversaries to remember, people to love and tough days to get through.
This is my Rita. She passed away when I was 19, after a battle with Pancreatic Cancer. She was flawless. Beautiful, funny, a great mom, our Aunt next door, my summer camp counselor, and an all around wonderful woman. Her birthday, April 16th, was always the kickoff to what we called ‘birthday week’! Mine would follow the next day, and her husband Ago would celebrate his two days later on the 19th! Rita was such a joy – and every time I think of her, a smile graces my face the same as it did when I would come home to see her, and I would get a hug that only Rita could give. Thinking of her makes my heart full, and feels like home.
So on April 16th, I celebrate Rita!
Also on April 16th, I celebrate life by remembering 32 sweet souls, whose lives ended entirely too soon. At Virginia Tech, I learned to mourn loss by celebrating life. Each year on April 16th, we would run the 3.2 for 32 – and participate in all sorts of activities that honored the lives of those lost. This day reminds me that there are scary people in this world – who choose to do terrible things. But the only way to truly overcome hate, and anger, and sadness, is to be full of joy, and gratitude!
Then April 17th rolled around! The 5 year anniversary of my 21st birthday! And what a joyful day it was! We went to church and served in the nursery – our usual Sunday morning activities. Then we went to lunch at Front Street Brewery, got milkshakes at Kilwins, and then walked all over downtown – which was SO much fun – but also exhausting! It’s amazing how much energy I don’t have these days…
Speaking of being pregnant… SO many of my friends are pregnant right now! Must have been something in the water – this holiday season is definitely going to be a joyous one!
So while this week always starts out by missing loved ones and sadness over tragedy, it quickly turns into a celebration of life – and for that, I am thankful!