Thursday, June 04, 2009

Happy 30th Birthday, Erica!

Today is Erica's 30th birthday, a milestone that she should have reached and had the pleasure to celebrate with her loved ones. And for those of us who did have the pleasure to know her well, can you even imagine how big and festive this party would have been?? Certainly there would be dancing, laughter, drinks and lots of food from around the world! I can hear her voice saying, "the more the merrier" (as she frequently did!) and I think she would have wanted every friend she ever had to know they were welcome at her party.

It's funny because I have been so hesitant to blog. I remember her nagging at me over and over again to blog for her because she was too tired to write and she didn't like huge gaps of time between postings... But now, it doesn't feel appropriate to speak for her on this site that has evolved into her amazing journey and the place that allowed her a chance to process her thoughts and feelings. I don't want to make assumptions about what she would have done had she lived, who she would have become, what paths she would've chose... Nor should anyone try.
She was full of surprises and my favorite were her birthday surprises!! When I was 14 years old, Erica threw a surprise dance party in our garage for me (still my favorite birthday memory!) to each year as adults doing something together and new, I always looked forward to celebrating the marking of another year with her.

So this year, on her birthday, I am proud to announce that Erica Jean Murray has earned her Master of Arts from Tufts University!!! I always bragged that my sister was a smarty pants, but to earn her Masters while undergoing chemotherapy, radiation, steroids, and a bone marrow transplantation--she's a rock star!

I also just graduated with my Master of Science in Social Work and the day was bitter sweet.... She asked me not to return to California when she relapsed the last time because she said that it was motivation for her to get well fast and be cheering for me when I receive my diploma... This degree was so much for her and with her that it was difficult to accept it without her physically present--but when I heard my name called, I walked across the stage to cheers from our amazing Mother, Linda, Andres, Jamie and my friends... so yea, I was smiling from ear to ear and in those little moments, I guess she is there and I do feel her...

So, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to you, Erica! Thank you for all your love and support, even now...