Breast cancer doesn't just plunder body, it is a thief of memories. I have good reason to hate it, too:
Blank pages are haunted with wonderings of "what might have been, if only." If only. If only…. They aren't words heart-whispered often anymore, but I'm acutely aware cancer robbed me of more memories, especially more good memories of Mama.
Flashback to 1971, Athens, Georgia, approaching the intersection of Milledge Avenue and Baxter Drive. I don't remember where we had been but I do know we were headed to our apartment less than a mile away. In her fourth year of battling cancer, Mama felt bad and needed to get home.
In my eight-year-old way of thinking, I wanted to do something (anything) to make her feel better. Children use whatever tactic they can conjure to stall bedtime, so I decided my gift to her would be going straight to bed without argument or "one more glass of water" as soon as we got home.
My intent was to let her know what she had to look forward to. Subtle-as-a jackhammer in the sleepiest voice I could muster, I yawned, "I can't wait to get home and go to bed," and continuing my Academy Award-winning charade, "I'm almost falling asleep…"
Stopped at the red light before my sentence was complete, Mama's car door suddenly opened. The sound of violent retching followed by vomited splatter echoed throughout our sedan. As she wiped her mouth and closed the door, her beleaguered voice took aim and fired over the back seat in my direction, "Well, just don't fall asleep in the car…!"
Stunned, I recoiled from her verbal dagger; my ears may have done the hearing of her barbed words, but it was my little girl's heart that felt them.
I imagine it's why I still remember this scene.
I wanted to cry, but I knew that would just upset Mama more, and even then I knew she meant no harm. Holding back tears, I mumbled something to reassure her I was fine and wouldn't be falling asleep in the car after all.
I don't remember anything after the light turned green.
Mama died the following Spring.
No wonder I h.a.t.e. cancer.
No wonder I'm grateful for the lessons Mama taught me in the nine years we shared.
No wonder I've walked in the Race for the Cure since I discovered it.
No wonder I celebrate and praise God my sister is a 12+ year survivor!
Click through to the Breast Cancer Site daily to provide FREE mammograms to those in need (it costs you nothing but a second of time!). They'll even send you a daily reminder if you're prone to forgetfulness.
Make a contribution to National Breast Cancer Foundation or a similar organization.
Stop that damnable thief from robbing any more memories from children; help stop it from stealing years from the lives of women.
If at any time this month you've blogged about Breast Cancer Awareness, I invite you to share your link in comments; I'll add it below as I'm able. And thank you for using your voice on behalf of others. Your words are making a difference.
Your stories ~
"Seventeen Years," The Gypsy Mama
"Grab Your Boobies," The Diaper Diaries
Click broken heart image to return to its original source.