Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Happy Birthday

My cousin, Rachel, was born on this day, almost a year before I was. Last time that I had cancer she came out and helped me, because besides being cousins we were the best of friends. Her husband helped take care of her two small children so she could visit. We enjoyed ourselves immensely while she was here. Rachel was a drive herself eight hours to jump on the trampoline with the kids kind of person. On her drive home she was killed in a car accident. It was devastating.

Right now Baby keeps looking up at me, because she knows something is wrong. Baby is named after her.

When we found out the cancer returned I felt like I had failed her. All that happened and I could not even manage to stay cancer free.

Wait - I did not want the cancer to come back anymore than I wanted her to die. Blessedly I realized that as soon as I said it aloud to my husband. I am often my own worst enemy.

After the failure feeling left the more familiar missing her feeling came. It would be nice to be able to tell her things and then hear her replies. Right now our communication is often one sided.

Last Tuesday at the YW activity one of the other leaders said, "I think all the Beehives are getting taller, and may be taller than you." So of course I had to stand back to back with them to see if indeed they are taller than me. Some are and some are close to being taller. I thought of Rachel and how I always thought and she did too, that I was taller than her. It was not until months after living together that we stood back to back and realized that she was taller.

L told us recently about how they learned about the Sydney Opera House at school. It reminded me of how much Rachel loved the people on her mission to Australia. I had to get married during that time so I would have someone else to hang out with. My sister and my cousins sent letters to Rachel keeping her up to date on their opinions of him.

At General Conference time I told my kids how we slept in line outside the Tabernacle to get into the balcony for General Conference. Rachel drove her car and I brought my little hymnbook. We ended up sleeping by some people she knew from Orem. One them was a boy, who also sat by us in the balcony. Rachel bravely took the seat closest to him.

After the blessing of Baby we had a luncheon for family back at our house. We had Hawaiian Haystacks which was a throw back to the reunion Rachel and I raised the bar on family reunion meals. Along with her mom we had a theme to our meal with decorations, and favors based on a luau. I brought L and C and she brought A, and neither of us brought our husbands.

I am glad I got to love Rachel.


  1. Hey Jeni, thanks for these memories. It's been a good day for us. Tonight we're celebrating Rachel by watching movies. She's 35 today--next year it's you, girl.

  2. I did not realize she and I had the same birthday. A honor to share a birthday with her.

    And Baby will make up whatever she has regressed. I'm sure of it. I know you are a wonderful mother and just reading your writings is making me a better person. Thank you.

  3. Hey I had forgotten that you shared the same birthday. It has been so long since we all lived close enough to celebrate with each other. Happy Birthday to you too!

  4. I feel lucky to have known her too. She was always willing to chat and I loved her smile. She was one of my favorite people:)