September 24 was the first day of Rosh Hashanah this year, which ends at sundown tonight. As noted in my 9/24/14 post, it was also my 62nd birthday—the first adult birthday I have been truly grateful for.
Sadly, my childhood friend, Sandee, did not live to see her 62nd birthday. As detailed in my previous posts about her, as well as in the story of finding my sister after 50 years, Sandee and I met when we were seven—just at the time I “lost” my baby sister. My Sister’s Story – Adoption & Reunion had a happy ending. My Friend’s Story – Leukemia did not.
Sandee died four years ago tomorrow, on September 27, 2010 (at age 57) of an insidious blood cancer— just after Rosh Hashanah had started that year. And just one year after my sister came back into our lives. No one was more gleeful about that event than Sandee—especially when she learned that my sister had been raised Jewish! 🙂
But Sandee’s story is only partially tragic. She lived joyously, and one of her sisters told us that, as she lay dying, Sandee said that she had loved her life. She was truly blessed and gave everyone who knew her big dollops of her happy life energy.
One of the proofs of the gift that was Sandee is her legacy of four beautiful grandchildren. Just yesterday, right in the middle of the new year, I received this card from her daughter in Israel:
As hard as it is to mourn the passing of my childhood friend, it is easy to rejoice in the part of her that lives on through her and her husband, Mitch’s, children and grandchildren.
Happy New Year 2014 to my Jewish friends and family. May you know as much joy as Sandee did during her shortened life on earth. And may you leave as wonderful and inspiring a legacy as she did.
Please also visit Mitch’s Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Fund-Raising Page.