Soup Becomes a Warm Memory

by Peg Mace, 11/09/20012

This coming Saturday would have been my sister???s 47th birthday. But she only got to celebrate one birthday in her short life. At age 16 months she was found to have tumors in her internal organs, and just before her second birthday, she succumbed to cancer.

I have tried once before to blog about my baby sister, because in reality, she is why I am here blogging away with those of you who have chronic health conditions. Her impact on our family is why I have an understanding of what families with health issues are going through. She helped shape who I am.

I was 12 years old when my little sister died, and as the oldest of 6 children on a hard working family dairy farm, I took care of her a lot. She even passed away at home, leaving me with both grim and amazing memories of a remarkable little girl, and a stunned family trying to cope. But the descriptive memory I would like to share is not about that; no one but close family would get any catharsis from that.

My memory is about my aunt bringing over some yummy vegetable-hamburger soup one day. It was a HUGE pot of soup, and it was different from the vegetable beef soup my mom made (which was from what we called "soup bone" when we butchered a cow, lumpy and delicious). Made with fine hamburger, vegetables cut up very small, and the addition of corn, my aunt's soup was easy to inhale. She let us eat all we wanted and we did not have to do the dishes. It was a real treat!

To point out that one pot of soup is not to ignore the many other kindnesses shown to our family during that time. It is to say, those acts did not just mean a lot to my parents. They meant a lot to us kids, as well. They were probably lifelines to my folks, enabling them to make the long trip to Children???s Hospital countless times. But to us, they were novelties, and distractions, and fun. And those things are necessary in the life of a kid.

To those of you who are struggling through some difficult times, as the patient or caregiver or loved one, I just want you to recognize that the little things do count. I can't say that birthday cake brings back memories of my sister, but a pot of hamburger vegetable soup brings back warm memories every time.

Have a blessed day, and I wish you all a life with more birthdays.