My Birthday Belongs to Opal

Cancer, KB's Journey

Today is my birthday and I know with extreme certainty that I am very blessed. As I celebrate this additional year of living, I can’t help but to think about all of those who have passed out of my life. People who I wish could’ve celebrated one additional birthday with me, or people who I wish could’ve celebrated an additional birthday with themselves.

The American Cancer Society challenged its Bloggers Council to post a blog in dedication to someone that we know and/or have lost to cancer. I’ve lost a few relatives to cancer, but today I want to dedicate my special day to my maternal grandmother, Opal Elizabeth. I never had the chance to meet her because she passed away at the age of 36 after a battle with stomach cancer. Although my mother was young, she still has plenty of memories of her mother. Memories from her own experiences and those shared with her by other family members.

My mother often called me “Opal,” and said that we shared some of the same fabulous qualities. According to my mom, Opal was very stylish. We’re talking long-stemmed cigarettes (bad yet chic), gloves at cocktail hours/dinners, and tailored suits. She was beautiful, yet never met a four-letter word that she didn’t like. As I often listened to my mother’s stories about her mother, I always dreamed of what it would have been like to know her. Just like my children will wonder what it would’ve been like to know my mother who passed away at the age of 49.

I come from a line of beautiful, strong women who unfortunately had chronic illnesses rob them of seeing all of the birthdays that they deserved. Now, I’m sure that I will live until I’m 120, but just in case I don’t, I’ve decided to live every day of my life to the fullest. For me. For Opal. For my mother. For my future children. And, for everyone who wishes their loved one had one more year on this Earth.

Not only is opal my birthstone, but Opal is my foundation. My birthday is dedicated to my beautiful, stylish, young, fabulous, and sassy grandmother, Mrs. Opal Elizabeth. I’m proud to be a chip off of your chic block!


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  • Reply
    My Pure Diet. Health News & Supplements.
    October 14, 2009 at 3:37 pm

    […] Karyn dedicated a post to her grandmother, Opal, who died at 36 of stomach cancer. Karyn writes “My mother often called me […]

  • Reply
    October 12, 2009 at 3:07 pm

    Fabulous post done with style and grace that I’m sure Opal would have loved. Happy birthday, wishing you many, many more. And thanks for helping ACS create a world with more birthdays! I hope others reading this will join the movement and dedicate a post to someone they loved who has been touched by cancer.

    • Reply
      October 14, 2009 at 4:40 pm

      Thank you for the comment and your birthday wishes 🙂 I also hope that more people will take the time to dedicate a post to a special person in their lives.

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