While most of the time studying abroad is incredible, every once in a while I really wish that I was at home. It is hard to be thousands of miles away when there are things back at home that I want to be a part of, either good or bad. I have a very large, very close, incredibly wonderful family. Being away from all of them has been one of the hardest parts of being here for a whole year. Right now, I really wish that I could be home for my family, but since I cannot be with them, I decided to write about it.
This post is specifically dedicated to Micaela “Micki” Luhr. While I think of her as one of my aunts, Micki is technically my mother’s cousin’s wife. She married my “cousin” Alfred in 1971 and moved to Buffalo in ’77 after living in New York City and Long Island — where she grew up. People often think that Micki is related to us by blood because she looks like she could be one of the Luhr girls. Since October of 2010, Micki has been fighting cancer. She has never complained, and never given up. Hospice has been coming for a few days, and we are all getting ready to say good-bye.
She loved to travel and planned lots of wonderful trips. I can remember looking at pictures from when she went to Ireland with my Aunt Mary, Aunt Catherine and her daughter Mary Adair in 1999. Micki would plan out all of her trips in advance, researching the cities, the sights, and the best shopping. She traveled to England and returned on the QE2, planned a trip to Bandon Dunes in Oregon to play golf, and in 2008 I got to go to Spain and Portugal with her on one of Aunt Catherine’s school trips.
About ten years ago, Micki and Al bought a house right down the beach from the Luhr/Snyder/Brady/Stephens complex which made summers even more fun. In 2005 she took up golf and would play with her friends up at Cherry Hill. Sometimes she would even come to Cherry Hill Bingo on Thursdays.
I have so many memories of Micki from growing up. Sunday night dinners at McPartlan’s where she would bring her own dressing for salad (no chichi beans). Christmas Eve mass at St. Louis, Easter dinner, Super Bowl parties and family dinners at the beach. We are birthday buddies, (hers is the 11th and mine is the 12th) and celebrated together on more than one occasion. She has always been so supportive of me, in everything I do. I am very lucky to have had such an incredible, beautiful person in my life.
Micki has been one of my biggest blog followers. Over the course of my year she has sent me lots of great articles, especially about Belgium and Brussels. When I was getting ready to go to Ireland she sent me a great list of things to do while I was there. We have been able to stay in touch through email, and when I skyped with my family on Christmas I got to see her for a few minutes, which was great. The last time I spoke to Micki was when I returned from my 17 day backpacking trip. We got a chance to catch up while Annie drove her to radiation. I am sorry that I will not be able to visit with her this summer and talk about all my travel adventures over Belgian chocolate. We will never get to go to New York City together like we once talked about, but when I finally make it there I will be thinking of her.
Yesterday, my aunt Annie passed on some words that I think describe how I am feeling perfectly. A friend once told her that part of the reason we get so sad when someone is dying is because we are sad for ourselves because we are going to miss them so much. I am very sad that I will not get to see Micki, but I know that she has had a wonderful life, filled with family that loves her and fantastic adventures. I will miss her terribly, as I know all of our family will.
“To die would be an awfully big adventure”- Peter Pan
Micki and Al at Augusta in 2007