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On My Birthday, I'm Remembering Those Who Have Passed

On Monday I got to celebrate making it to another year. I turned 25 years old on October 9th and I was reminded once more of how lucky I have been to make it through it all. Birthdays have always been important to me and I don’t take them for granted.

But this Monday I spent a lot of time thinking about those I know who no longer get to celebrate their birthdays. Because of my illness, I have been surrounded by amazing people who unfortunately were sick too. Some of them I got to meet before they passed, others I knew through blogs or my mom having connected with the parents. So for my birthday post, I’d like to say a little bit about each person in my life who has died from an illness of some kind.

Linda, my older sister whom I never got to meet. You died just a few hours after open heart surgery… I grieve for the sister I never got to know.

Olivia, I met you at Heart Camp. We were in each other’s cabins for years and I loved getting to know you! Unfortunately we ended up going to two separate sessions as we got older and lost touch. I found out about your passing on Facebook and was heartbroken.

Sonny, you were the first sick friend I made. I met you before I went off to heart camp. We met at PCH on their Children’s Advisory Board. You died on your birthday… You were the first sick friend I lost at the young age of 10.

Genie, I also knew you from heart camp. You were a few years older than me but we were in each other’s cabins a few times. I wished and longed for you to be able to see a PH doctor when you told me you had the same disease as me. I was devastated to know you had passed, wishing and thinking, “Maybe she’d be alive if her PH had been treated…”

Jasmine, you were the first person my age I met who had PH. We went to the prom together at Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital. I was so excited for you to get your much needed transplant and mourned for you and your family when you passed.

Rebecca Joy, we met at a PH Conference and just clicked. We loved that we had the same first and middle name. You were hilarious and we had a blast. I miss you and wish I had gotten to spend more time with you.

Lauren, I also met you at the PH Conference and I adored you. I thought you were a kind and wonderful girl who inspired me to keep on smiling.

Dr. Tadano, my favorite orthodontist. I miss you deeply and will never forget you coming to visit me while I was so sick in sixth grade.

Dr. Barst, you were the first PH specialist I ever met and you saved my life. I am forever grateful for all you did for me and I miss you every day.

Princess Faith, I knew you through our parents. You were such a sweet and beautiful little girl. The world isn’t the same without you.

Tambra, I met you because I went to heart camp with your wonderful daughter. We got back in touch when you started coming out to Arizona for medical treatment. There are still days when I think to myself, “Oh I can’t wait to tell Tambra this!” and then I remembered, you are no longer here. I miss you every day.

Liam, I didn’t get the honor of meeting you. However, I met your beautiful family recently and I am in awe of the beautiful work they are doing in your honor.

Nick and Kelly, I also didn’t get the honor of meeting either of you but I have met your wonderful parents who have done and continue to do wonderful things in your names. It is because of both of you and your parents that I got to go to heart camp and have all these amazing experiences. Thank you.

Hamza, I never got to meet you either. However, our parents connected via Facebook, sharing our CHD battles with one another. I got the privilege of meeting your older sister Layla who is dedicated to making the medical field better – all because of you.

Jesse, you were my niece’s best friend. You brought so much light and love into this world, never letting your wheelchair or medical complexities define you. My family and I got so close to you and your family; we miss seeing you at all the events we used to get to visit with you at.

To the loved ones of all of these people, please know I think about you and your families often. On my birthday, I thought of each and every one of these people on the list. I can’t imagine the pain you must all go through during the days, weeks, months and years. But I want you to know, I haven’t forgotten your loved ones or you.

For those who have lost someone I know nothing about, I think about you as well. Even if we’ve never talked and all you’ve done is read my blog, I think about you and your loved one. I may not know their names or yours – but you are in my heart.

Know that not just on my birthday, I remember you all. But on this birthday especially I took some time to think of and remember your loved ones. I honored them on my birthday in my heart as I blew out my candle this year, remembering each of them and letting them know I haven’t forgotten and I never will.



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Thinkstock photo via ConstantinosZ.

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