My Thanksgiving was less than stellar because that is the day that my dear cousin, Melissa, passed away. She had been ill for a while, but even in spite of her lengthy illness, her death came as a shock. I was definitely not prepared for it, nor was I prepared for the period of depression that soon followed. You see, my cousin and I were very close friends. She suffered for years with Ulcerative Colitis, and I suffered for years with Crohn's disease. In case you're not aware, UC and Crohn's are called sister diseases. They are very similar as far as symptoms and disease progression goes.
She also had issues with her liver (most likely caused by the UC and/or the medications and side effects from the disease). She was on the transplant list but her MELD score was not high enough. She and I related to each other in a way that no one else could. I believe that was because we both were living with incurable diseases but had faith in divine healing. We were trying our best to live a "normal" life despite the challenges we faced in our health.
Many days we were able to encourage each other with a word, prayer, and sometimes even shared jokes to keep each other from being down. After my proctocolectomy, although I had a few post-surgical rough spots (CCU for 7 days), I came through it Crohn's free. Meanwhile, my cousin's health was rapidly deteriorating. I began questioning my own mortality and became obsessed and afraid for my own life. I mean, just a few short months ago, I could have died. I also questioned God for taking her and not me. I am just now coming back to a place where I can talk again, laugh again, and get back to living. I will continue to remember her shining spirit, her great laugh, her country swag, her giving nature, and her faith in the Almighty God. This post is dedicated to Melissa Denise Seay; may you rest in peace. See you again soon cuz!