Sunday, July 3, 2011

Visitation is for the Living

This time last week, I was still recovering from one of the most wonderful celebrations I might ever be a part of. It was modest by some standards. Extravagant by others.  It wasn't a wedding or a christening. It was way more than just another party. It was a visitation.

My friends and family came together with food, flowers, dancing and gifts for The Cancer Card Xchange to celebrate me and my 40th birthday. I accepted it all (and a few tear-filled moments) with an open and grateful heart.

Like everyone else, I have had loss and sadness. More than my share by some standards. Less by others. And there has always been an equal amount of joy. This party was a celebration, a pause button of sorts, to mark it all. 

I understand the concept of visitations at funerals. People want to get together and remember the good times they had with the departed. People who haven't seen each other for years, catch up and vow to keep in touch. My goal: to make a visitation (after I'm dead) completely unnecessary.

For the most part, I have always made time for and sought out any opportunity for "visitation". Dates with St. Joel, of course. Long drives to visit family, sure. Lunch with friends, I'm in. Movie with girlfriends in the middle of the week, whenever possible. Hour-long phone calls with friends from high school, a necessity. 

I'm doing all the visitation I can while I'm still here to enjoy it because I believe visitation is for the living. You just have to show up.

Another day, another story,


Amy @ Cheeky Cocoa Beans said...

Great post! Happy birthday!!!

julie said...

Thank you so much for this post! This time last year, my husband's family gathered to celebrate his grandfather's 90th birthday. This weekend, we'll be gathering again to commemorate his passing earlier this summer (just 3 weeks before his 91st birthday). I'm ever so glad we all got together last year. Somehow it takes some of the sadness out of this year's gathering.

On a different note - I am enjoying reading and learning about the Cancer Card Xchange! A friend of mine in NC (where I just moved from) started a sort-of-similar thing for the families of children in the Cancer Ward at Brenner Children's Hospital in Winston-Salem. She started it after her young son was declared NED from rhabdomyosarcoma (not sure I spelled that right) and has kept it going strong even though he relapsed after only 9 months. They do gift cards and also other specific things (for example, they are working on getting mini-fridges in the patients' rooms, and they got the Lego Store to bring 50 lbs of Legos for "Lego Therapy Day"). I just have a feeling you'd like each other. Her name is Sarah DiGerolamo. The foundation's web site is and her son's CaringBridge page is at

julie :)


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