“Happy Birthday to you…Happy Birthday dear Juuuulia. #40 is a Big One. Mom thinks you would have chosen Brats or Mexican food for your birthday supper. I think I would have given you a great new purse. Jeffy and Sara are visiting with the little ones – we know you would have been so glad they were theer on your special day. I wonder if Jim would have sent you black roses like he did on my 40th birthday? I don’t know what type of cake you liked best. Just thinking about picking out a card for you makes me giggle… Love Laura”
(excerpt from a birthday letter, July 30, 2013)
I think its important to celebrate the day people were born. No life is random. I’d like to celebrate my sister Julia’s 40th birthday by sharing a little of her best with others.
She could laugh till she snorted. Which made other people laugh too. She was one who knew great sadness but also able to laugh with gusto. It was contagious when she was with my girls. I am not certain what she did, but she consistently produced snot, toot, and tear producing laughter when Lauren and Lyndsay were in her presence.
Following a women’s retreat she attended, she called me to share what I must do every day to improve loving myself, just the way I was made. Her instructions were, “Stand in front of the mirror naked, look at yourself, raise your hands in the air and announce loudly, ‘I AM A MASTERPIECE’!”
I tried it. I still do on occasion. I’m not sure my self-image improves, but it always makes me laugh. Go ahead and give it a shot – you’ll know just what I mean!
Julia suffered so much for so long. Yet in some of her toughest days spent in offices, clinics, units, hospitals, she engaged with the suffering. She went where the sad and lonely, bruised and confused were because those parts of herself were not hidden behind masks. And though she was frightened by parts of life, she was courageous in this place – a place where I, maybe you avoid because we are frightened by it. She shared kind words. She shared the Good News. She shared herself not out of pity for others, but from a simple authenticity of one who isn’t afraid of others who hurt. The world needs more authentic people and less wearing masks.
Maybe the best of her best is a legacy she leaves. It is being gleaned and repeated by our wise mother who loved Julia
Julia did the best she could.
Honestly, how can I, how can anyone do any more or better than that?
Then why do we all try so hard to?
“Julia, I’m sorry for my part in trying to ‘help’ you or push you to be someone you were not; to do something more or less than what you could do. It was selfish; I wanted you to get better. I believe now, you did do your best. You were the very best Julia you could be. I so admire that about you, though wish I had realized it sooner. I will try to head in that direction too. It may take a few more trips to the mirror naked, and taking off a mask or two, but I hope I can do it as well as you did. Way To Go SISTER!
Happy Birthday Jules.
Julia left earth, circled by family song, story, prayer, and love and moved into her Mansion – a perfect place prepared just for her on October 15, 2011.