A Day of Very Mixed Emotions

It's been a rather peculiar day today. I've been very excited that today is not only the birthday of my oldest surviving sister but also my youngest nephew. For some reason the coincidence of their birthdays has always tickled me. I think it's because my sister has frequently complained (in jest, I hope) that she's never had her birthday by herself; my oldest sister's birthday was July 4th (I say 'was' because the sibling is no longer with us). She says it made her feel 'robbed' of the specialness because it was always celebrated with something else. I find it funny that my nephew was born on her birthday, as though fate were rubbing it in. Who says Mother Nature doesn't have a sense of humor?

The other thing that has me in such a weird funk is news of two deaths. My friend in Illinois who is currently battling breast cancer has informed her Facebook friends (myself included) that her sister-in-law lost her battle with stage 4 liver cancer. More bad news: my very best girlfriend, currently on a fishing vacation in northern Minnesota, was informed that her beloved dog Roscoe died too and that she and her SigOther are curtailing their trip.

Now, I know the gravity of these two incidents aren't considered equal by many people, but they share so many things. Whether a pet or a human, life is tremendously valuable to these folks and the loss will be so keenly felt. Both of my friends have been having a very rough time of it lately, and to have things like this occur just seems so unfair. I know the one friend was already struggling with a sense of defeat (although she has nobly fought the disease in a way I doubt I could) and the other wants to save every animal she has ever seen in distress (human species included) so to have lost this pet and not be there...well...I can imagine her extreme pain and woe.

It was very strange, today, to put sympathy cards in the mail - two on one day. It reminds me that despite feeling left out or put upon or useless on occasion, there are people suffering troubles worse than mine or joys greater, and I wish over and over again that, despite the thousand miles that separate us, I wish I could be there sharing their lives, giving a hurrah or a hug as is needed. Words are cold and pass as platitudes. A hug is warm.

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