Everyone has a date they remember.
A not-so-happy day.
Culturally, we carry the dates of school shootings, massacres, and terrorist attacks close to our hearts. We can recall the exact spot where we stood when the news came to our attention. We remember what the weather was like on that day. We know who we called, who we consoled, and who we cried with.
Personally, we carry the dates of diagnoses, deaths, and funerals close to our hearts. We can recall the exact spot where we stood when the news came to our attention. We remember what the weather was like on that day. We know who we called, who we consoled, and who we cried with.
I told you about my October, last October, when I was Aware of October (here’s a little excerpt from that post).
But on October 6, a day when I should have been thinking about NHL games, I was thinking about the color pink.
Shortly before noon on that sun-shiny Thursday, I was driving back to the office from an off-site meeting. I was drafting e-mails in my head, preparing for the busyness of the afternoon when my phone vibrated and flashed a familiar name on the caller ID.
I turned down the radio, a peppy-upbeat song piping positive thoughts into my car and and heard these words, “it’s breast cancer.”
After the phone call, I pulled into the parking lot at work, gathered my stuff, and went to my desk. I remember grabbing two of my co-workers, taking them outside, and telling them the news. I was shaking, maybe crying. I just needed to tell someone. Not because they could fix anything or change the news. I just needed to let someone know that my October went from crazy to crazier.
The day went on. I returned to my desk. Sent the e-mails I had drafted in my head. Handled paper work. And prepared for a late afternoon meeting.
The meeting was supposed to be simple. Routine.
But for me, it wasn’t. I wasn’t ready to share the news in that meeting. To let the person know what had happened. I needed to get through the meeting and end my day.
Getting through the meeting was easier said than done. I mean, I did it. I got through it, but it was hard. I sat there and listened. Responded when prompted. Participated. The whole time I was in that meeting, I was faking my emotions. Pretending to be OK.
Really though, I was suffocating. I could hardly piece my thoughts together. I struggled to voice my opinions, afraid my voice would crack and that I’d snap.
I didn’t crack or snap. I just did what needed to be done.
Just like my mom. She didn’t crack or snap. She fought. Hard. Gracefully.
Sure, she cried. We all cried.
But we wiped the tears away and went back to work everyday to ensure that we’d get to this day.
A cancer-free day. A day that was once sad but is now happy.
On the 6th day of October, was the day the words “breast cancer” sounded like a four-letter word.
Today, on the 6th day of October, is the day the words “breast cancer” sound like an arch nemesis my mom destroyed.
I don’t know what the 6th day of October reminds you of or holds for you, but I do know that I’m stronger because of the 6th day of October. A day I was unprepared for, yet had prepared for my whole life. A day that I, the daughter of a breast cancer survivor, survived.
A day my mom conquered.
Someday I pray we can all stand together and say, “On this day, after many battles with wins and losses, we have finally destroyed breast cancer. Once and for all.”
We’ll crank the volume up on some peppy-up-beat song and celebrate the lives lost and saved. And I’m pretty sure that’s a date we’ll all remember.