August would have been my cousin Trudy's birthday. She was two years older than I and possessed a smile that won hearts and spread love. This description may sound corny, but it's accurate. Trudy was the type of person who was always thinking of other people, displaying her love for her family and friends on a daily basis.
Trudy was a nurse, a very fitting profession for her. She genuinely cared for other people, especially the family she cherished and the friends she'd known her whole life. When my mother was very ill, she would visit often, advising me how to handle a very ill woman. She sometimes sat with Mama so I could have a break from the sometimes-grueling task of nursing my poor mother or when my work duties took me away for an evening. She and Mama would watch television together as she clipped Mama's toenails, trading gossip and chocolate candy. When my mother lay on her deathbed, Trudy and my aunt sat with me. Trudy took her pulse and monitored her breathing until she drew her last. She also comforted me when I mourned my mother's passing, assuring me I couldn't have done more for her.
Her generous spirit knew no bounds. She hosted her friend Peggy's bridal shower. She nursed her patients with care. She was a loving aunt to her siblings' children, a loyal wife to John, and a devoted mother to her only daughter Jennifer. Trudy's husband, a native of Guyana, recounted her visit to his homeland. A young relative was hesitant to greet this lady with long blond hair and hid behind his mother's skirts. Trudy spread her arms wide and said, "Come give me a big kiss!" At her funeral, John read an email from that young man, now a successful adult, who remembered Trudy's kindness.
When she developed a horrible blood cancer, Trudy approached it with the optimism so typical of her. Determined to enjoy life, she dove into treatment and looked beautiful at her daughter's wedding; however, within a year, the cancer was back. Her brother David donated blood cells, but the cancer had spread. She died before the birth of her first grandchild Mason.
Recently, we celebrated the first birthday of Trudy's second grandchild, little Madelyn Trudy. Her daughter and grandchildren have thrived, but I wish our sweet Trudy had lived to see her gorgeous grandchildren. I truly hate cancer. It robbed Trudy of life and tortured her in her last months.