Wednesday, December 4, 2013

so you just keep breathing? not really a food post

I tend to be a pretty private person. That may sound a bit odd, since I openly write about bodily functions, food restrictions, and my yucky health issues. I don't, however, often write about it when my feelings are hurt, I feel under-appreciated at work, or my heart is breaking. And to be completely direct, I don't even know why I am compelled to do just that, today.

I'm the oldest of five children, three girls, two boys. We've always been pretty close and still celebrate every holiday together. Our mother is 93 (don't tell her I told her age) and still the cement that holds us together, I believe. She's witty and cranky and, well, pretty much exactly what you'd expect from the woman who raised all of us.

This week the world changed permanently for me. My little sister and closest friend, Beverly Malouf Byrd, lost a hard-fought battle with an extremely rare, disgustingly aggressive form of cancer. And damn! she did fight. That story is hers, and I will not go into detail. She was as private as I, and many friends and family never knew she was ill. I know she didn't want to be thought of as the sicky. Her husband, Gary, fought hard for her, as well, and was by her side almost constantly through this. He's a saint as far as I'm concerned, and I'm so very glad he was there for her in every way possible. Their son, Dylan, caused the sun to rise and set for Bev. Attending his graduation from UC Santa Cruz was what drove her last spring, as ill as she was. She had every right to be proud of him. He's a loving, delightful, and talented young man, who adores his mother.

Bev said on many occasions that her purpose in life was to make others happy. She did just that. From her beautiful smile to her calm, friendly, welcoming demeanor, she lit up the room. To those of you who knew her, please add your experience in the comments, if you'd like. I'm not doing so well with words right now.

Right now, I am struggling to make sense of this senselessness. She's the one I'd call for help with that. We shared so much for so long, I'm at a loss. The one thing I plan to do may seem a little lame. Hell, everything feels pretty lame right now. Every Christmas, for years and years, Bev has made spiced nuts. Dozens of people looked forward to those every year. Her son and my daughter plan to continue that tradition for her. I can't eat them as she made them because of my health issues, so my plan is to tweak the seasonings for a fruit-free version. That will mean primarily using cinnamon instead of the spice blend she had perfected. When I've done that, I'll post the recipe. They won't be her nuts, but they'll remind me of her. That's all I've got for now.

I will miss you everyday, Bev.


  1. My heart aches. I just can't believe she is gone. I kept thinking there will be a miracle. She was such a gentle soul. She taught me sooooooo much, from health and organic living, to being kind to yourself! One day i was really being hard on myself because i couldn't remember something i wanted to say, and she told me thoughts are like little birds, if you sneak up on them gently you might capture one before they fly away. Makes me smile when I think of it. ......She was my guru and I will miss her very very much.

    1. I was expecting that miracle, too, Teri. I kept reminding myself that everything is considered incurable until the first time it's cured.

      Thank you for sharing those lovely thoughts. I hope you know how much she adored you.

  2. I'm just so sorry Pamela. I lost my sweet cousin Annie to aggressive cancer this year and it's not fair and it never makes any sense. I can relate to the sense of utter frustration and not knowing what to do next or where to turn. Please know that I'm thinking of you and sending comforting thoughts your way. ((((((((big hugs)))))))))))

    1. Thank you, sweetie. As I read your posts about Annie, I could feel what you were going through. It's heartbreaking, and still somehow we have to manage to live through it.


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