Coping with cancer became part of our Catholic DNA.
In retrospect, I suppose we all needed the time to find our meaning. And sharing the sorrow with my family also allowed us to grow closer in a way I could have never comprehended. Because of May there is a deeper love and admiration between all of us. May’s husband and his family also handled everything with an uncommon grace. And I am still moved by the outpouring of love from extended family friends. Not all of them are believers, but I can tell you that my faith is greater because of them.
Eventually, I found my meaning in the early hours of those last days spent, watching May sleep. Hovered over her bed, I was taken back to the days of my boyhood when I climbed into bed with her and we would laugh until I slept. All bitterness lifted and though moments of lucidity were rare, they came with the gentlest of brush strokes. My hand in hers. A glint of understanding in her eyes. And an apology in mine. I was sorry I never believed in miracles. I should have. She was the very reason.
A lot of people ask me how my sister May managed to live so long. I suppose there are medical reasons, some of which I have mentioned. But I know the real reason May lived longer than anyone expected is because May loved life. She should have. She was so good at it.
Mary Beth Carey died June 29th 2013. She was 49 years old.
P.G. Cuschieri is a writer who lives and works in Los Angeles. He is a grateful brother, uncle, friend and a proud Roman Catholic.
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