August 3, 2018
The Bucket List
I believe that everyone has a “bucket list”, things they would like to do, things they would like to buy, places they would like to visit, before they die. It’s mostly an afterthought, a wish list of things that will eventually be done some time later in life. When one is diagnosed with a terminal illness, such as cancer, the bucket list becomes priority, it’s now a race against time to accomplish the items on that list. I remember that movie a while back, “The Bucket List” with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman and always thought, when Aily and I get older, we will be just like them. I never thought at age 37, we would be putting together and living out our bucket lists. But knowing the harsh reality of her diagnosis, we knew that time was no longer on our side. Cancer forced both of us to face our own mortalities, knowing that we would no longer be growing old together. We had to start checking things off our bucket lists right away.
This picture was taken January 2017, in San Diego, celebrating our friend Rosie’s 40th Birthday. One of our last adventures together, and one of our last pictures taken together as well.
I knew at some point I would need to turn my sister’s cell phone off, and it took me a little while before I could even bring myself to do it. As I was looking through her phone for anything to download or keep (like pictures, notes, things she wrote, etc.), I found her bucket list. I am old school, and instead of trying to figure out how to forward her bucket list from the Notes on her phone, I took pictures of her list with my phone. Like I have said before, the older I get, the more tech challenged I become! Anyway, I got this to work and I would like to share her bucket list with all of you:
As you all can see, in the past 2 ½ years, Aily was able to accomplish quite a bit in that short time. When we found out she was stage 4 cancer, she always wondered if there was a Make A Wish for adults with terminal illness. I don’t think she ever did any further research into that, but I did ask her what her wish would be. She told me, she would want her wish to be something for me, something she knew I would always wanted, which is the first item on her bucket list; to go on the Ellen DeGeneres show, to meet her, and spread stomach cancer awareness. (I think she threw in the 12 days of Christmas give away shows she does every holiday season, because I always commented on how cool that would be to be an audience member for one of those episodes.) It warms my heart remembering this conversation we had, knowing that her one wish would be for me. She said, “Siobhan, you gave up your life selflessly for me, to take care of me every day, you cook for me, clean, do my laundry, go to every doctor appointment, chemo appointment, hospital stay, etc. I would want my wish to be something to give back to you.” Honestly, I never felt like I gave up anything, it was never a hesitation or question, where my priorities would be. It reminds me of the bond we shared and the love that we unconditionally had for one another, I was so blessed to have that in my life, to have a twin sister like Ailish. Even if this wish never comes true, just knowing that she wanted her wish to be something special for me, is more than I could ever want.
Unfortunately, she was not able to complete everything on her bucket list, but I intend to do my best and finish as much as I can for her, in her honor. As I make my way through her bucket list, I will share all my stories and adventures with you. Thank you all for continuing with me on this journey and reading my blog. I know how much Ailish meant to everyone, and I love to share stories, pictures, memories, as well as what the future holds.