Sons les mots qui vont trés bien ensemble, trés bien ensemble,
I love you, I love you I love you…

Depression is the least of my worries sometimes. Flashback to 1982.

I was pregnant with Jennifer, my first child, in my middle trimester, some 4 or 5 months along. I was living with my aunt and uncle, who had just had their first child, a beautiful, beautiful blonde baby girl, with ebony eyes. She was perfect. Absolutely perfect! Except for one thing. She became very sick. My aunt literally walked the floors, holding her for some two months, afraid to take her to the hospital. Make no doubt about it, my aunt was the epitomy of a good mother. She loved her babe very much (who, at the time, was 16 months old). After two months of walking her 24/7, holding her, loving her, doting on her, just to listen to her whimper, she finally broke down and took her to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles. From there, they ran tests after tests, including a spinal tap, never reaching a 100% positive conclusion on what was wrong.

I went to see my aunt and cousin several times during the time they were in the hospital (still pregnant, at almost if not 8 months by this time), only to watch my cousin worsen and worsen. Her stomach distended to look as if she were literally pregnant, and became black and blue. She was riddled with I.V.s, and I could tell that she was… not going to make it. No one could tell my aunt that, though. Everyone tried, the nurses, everyone, but she refused to give up on her one baby daughter.

Finally, on Christmas Day, we were at my grandmother’s (my uncle’s mother), my aunt and uncle, my dad, old friends of the family, and I saw my grandmother receive a phone call. She took it into the other room. When the call was over, she came out, looked at my aunt with the look of “OMG”, and my aunt looked at her, and said, “She didn’t make it?”

No, love. She didn’t make it. She died, Christmas Day, 1982. Needless to say, I haven’t celebrated Christmas since, and refuse to. I abandoned all faith at that time, and felt like an omen of sorts had been place on my own child, who wasn’t born yet. The pain of losing Michelle on that day was more than any of us could handle.

After that, from much prompting of my aunt and uncle from my dad, an autopsy was done, and it became conclusive that Michelle had died of Myelogenous Leukemia. After the autopsy, there was a funeral, at my favorite church in Pasadena, California (St. Elizabeth’s), which was one of the most painful things I’ve ever had to endure in my life. They played that old Beatles tune “Michelle, Ma Belle” for her. As time went on however, I did my best to push it out of my mind; I had a child to bring into the world of my own, and I couldn’t – just couldn’t, do it under the stigma of pain. Jennifer was born very healthy and beautiful herself – a redhead.

I had pushed it out of my mind completely (or so I thought) years ago. Why am I bringing this up now? Well, my friend, the miracle of Facebook. A friend of mine on there, Tony Phillips, is holding a fundraiser for Leukemia and Lymphoma for children. He’s had a very hard time raising the funds he needs for it, and I would like to ask you to at least consider donating. Who knows, it might be your child, too someday.

I donated tonight. Being unemployed, it’s not easy, but felt compelled to do something, given the history.

The tears are flooding… but I have to still believe that somehow, Michelle’s death won’t have been for nothing.

Post-traumatic stress from watching Michelle die? Yes. It’s still worth it. This is the first I’ve spoken of her death since her funeral. It must be worth it.

Thanks for reading.

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