Hug your loved ones every chance you can

Just as I am finally in a happy place in my life, something awful happens to a family member. My mom’s cousin, who celebrated her 50th birthday a few days ago just found out she has pancreatic cancer.

Why does something like this happen to someone so full of life? Someone who is liked by everyone she meets?  My cousin Joanne is one of my favorite people. She’s the kind of woman we should all aspire to be. She’s always been so comfortable in her skin, so full of self confidence. She hardly ever complains. She just deals with whatever life hands her.  She has an easy going, offhand attitude that everyone finds attractive.

She’s such a great storyteller, always laughing, always happy. She’s kind and interesting, willing to lend a hand, always ready to work hard. She’s the life of the party, but never in an obnoxious way. She’s the one you want to hang out with, the one you want to be like. I’m so lucky to have known her since I was a child.

I’m devastated by this news. I’m angry at the universe and I can’t stop crying. I’m sad for her two boys who have grown into wonderful people. I’m sad for the whole family. Joanne is part of the glue. She’s always there to celebrate something with any cousin who lets her know about it.

All I know is that at some point in the near future, I have to travel across the country and visit her one last time. My heart is breaking.

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