“How many kids are in your family?” “We have twelve siblings.” “What number are you?” “I’m number 13.”
I can’t count the number of times I have had this exact conversation. I am the thirteenth child in my family and I was born on the 13th. I am Lucky 13.
My sister Jacqueline died before I was born, shortly after her birth. She would have been just above me in the pecking order. Barbara was killed when I was only 2, making me 13 of 12.
And now this.
My sister, Eileen, lost her battle with ovarian cancer on Wednesday, December 11th.
I am now 13 of 11. It somehow seems like a nasty thing to say.
In coming days, I will likely write about her life and what a wonderful person she was. But today, I would like to thank my friends and family.
Over the past months, I have received an overwhelming amount of support. In October, I had been in the States for a visit. Two weeks later, I was back to say goodbye to my sister. Instead of doing that, I became one of her primary caretakers while she was in hospice care at her home. I stayed for about a month before returning to Ankara. Now I am back in the States for funeral services.
During this time, there were close friends and family who called, texted, and stopped by to see me. I can’t thank you all enough. It is sometimes so hard to be away from home, even when I truly am home in Ankara. A special thanks to John and Brenda, who are truly two of my best friends. And you expats know what exactly what I mean. Jules, Steve, Beyza, Damla, and Esra, my “American family” in Ankara, I want to especially thank you because you are ALWAYS there for me, no matter what I need.
There also also my Facebook friends, those who I knew long ago who have renewed our old friendship or created new ones. I thank you so much for your kindness.
Old friends and new friends in both the States and Turkey, thanks to all of you. I even continue to receive messages from Necati and the group at the Çarşı Pastane and from my Ladies’ English Conversation Group, even though I have had limited time for them over the past year. Thanks to all of you!
I particularly want to thank my husband’s family, The Kaymak family and the Koçer family. Their never-ending outpouring of love and support has been amazing. On that first day, Thursday, my house was full of family. I have received so many calls and messages from my Turkish family, at times, not even knowing to whom I was speaking. You are an incredible clan and I thank you again for welcoming me into the family!
And finally, I want to thank my Çakmak family. The people at my office have been very kind to me these past couple of months and my boss was supportive in letting me be where I needed to be.
Thanks to all of you. These next few days we will need your continued support, prayers, and good thoughts.
I may be number 13 of 11, now, but in my heart, I know I am one of many of an absolutely huge loving family made up of all of you.