Monday, October 26, 2015

We Are All Like Stairs, One Step After Another

The thought of my children’s fetal cells living on in my body is pretty amazing. The article I read today from NPR says that some cells may act as little sentinels looking out for breast cancer cells and killing them.

Normal Cells from WikiCommons

I’m comforted by that thought. Also by the idea that their cells stayed in my body long after they were born and traveled to my heart and other vital organs. But it’s the idea of them being in my heart that especially makes me feel like there’s even  more reason why we love our children so much. A part of them is technically inside our hearts until we die. How poetic!

The other theory is equally amazing. We very likely have the cells of all of our siblings who shared our mother’s body with us. Since I’m my mother’s sixth child that means that I possibly have the cells of my 4 older sisters and my brother, who I never met because he was born premature and died shortly after birth. He was born right before me so he left the most recent fetal cells when I was growing in my mother’s womb. And if the theory is correct, then I am the only sibling who carries his cells because I was the only sister born after him. Amazing!

Another thought that warms my heart is that my sisters and I all carry cells from our beloved eldest sister who passed away in 1995. The thought that I carry part of her inside of me is so remarkable. I love thinking that part of her is really here with me.

In reality we each carry part of our mother, grandmother and great-grandmother inside of us too. It reminds me of a line in The Joy Luck Club from the character An-Mei when she said that when we are born a girl to our mother we are “like stairs, one step after another, going up, going down, but always going the same way.”

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