9th Annual Julie Durmaskin Game Day
In a year of
blessings and change, it's hard to believe it has been nine years since my mom
and Debbie's sister passed away after a short battle with stage four Pancreatic
cancer. In the last nine years, she has missed birthdays, weddings, births,
funerals, moving, sickness, joy, and lots of new laughter.
There are so many celebrations she would have taken great joy in seeing:
Two little girls, Maren Juliette (named after Julie) and Clara Elise (named after her great, great grandmother Elise) would have been the spark of her life. She always said the best part of being a parent was getting to be a grandma who spoiled her grandchildren. I wish she would have been there to see Maren learning to talk, to see Clara being born, and to share her love of literature with them. They would have adored her.
A new son-in-law, the same one who stayed with her daughter in the hospital during restless cancerous nights, the same one who drove home with her to see her family during college, joined the family as her only daughter was married. The Heutons, the family that sent letters and bonzai trees as she was sick, welcomed her family as part of their own. I wore my mother's pearls. She would have loved the game themed reception (and beaten everyone in Bananagrams).
She would have loved seeing the way her close friends and family shared in the joy and preparation, became grandparents themselves, and prepared for their own weddings and celebrations. She would have loved seeing the relationship flourish between her daughter and her sister, and sharing in the adventures of friends and family alike.
Every year, as life's milestones come around, I feel her absence.
However, I also remember her joy and her strength. I have her pink boxing gloves she wore to her chemo sessions hanging in my room as a testament to her tenacious spirit and vivacity for life. I carry her deep love of learning with me as I train young adults giving service in low-income schools, and think of her gift of connecting to even the most challenging students whenever I see a student acting out in need of love and care.
I see my mom in so much of who I am today: her compassion, her drive, her intellect, her care. And I see my mom in little Maren and Clara, in their curiosity and vivacious spark.
It's been nine years since my mom died from Pancreatic Cancer. Nine years of births, weddings, joys, and tears. I can't help but think about how she should be here; I can't help but think about how someone else's mom could be there, if only we can find a cure.
On this nine year anniversary of her death, I encourage each of you to cherish those who are with you, to remember those who are no longer, and to donate for those who could have life with a cure. Please, consider if this is the right time for you to donate to this annual game day in memory of my mom to help find a cure for Pancreatic Cancer.
Thank you for your continuous love and support. You are all the family that carries the spark that keeps my mom's memory alive.
With much love and gratitude,
Amy and Debbie