September 04, 2012
The year I turned forty was one of the best years but also one of the worst years of my life. It started out great, beside the fact that I was going through somewhat of a mid-life crisis. My birthday arrived in February, and my wonderful husband threw a huge party for me. All my friends were there, and it was wonderful. My parents were missing, though, as they didn't want to travel the 500 miles that separated us at the time. They sent me the most beautiful tulips and a letter that explained the events surrounding my birth. Forty years earlier, there had been a tremendous snowstorm, my great-grandmother had passed away, and they had to have a snow plow go in front of the hearse. My great-aunt told my mother to forget about the funeral...which was wise because low and behold, I made my debut during that snowstorm. Anyway, I tucked that letter away somewhere safe because it was one of those things I wanted to reread later.
This year I turned 50. I was sad because I wanted to reread that letter and I couldn't find it. It became a treasure to me because, sadly, my mother passed away 8 months after she wrote it. Earlier that year she was diagnosed with colon cancer. During exploratory surgery, they discovered she had ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer is called a silent killer because its symptoms are mistaken for other illnesses. It was also the year my dad began feeling the effects of an ill-fated blood transfusion during the 70s. I lost my dad a year after my mother.
Anyway, a few weeks ago I was feeling sentimental and started going through my closets. I hauled out a few boxes of all my kids' stuff from kindergarten on through graduation. As my two youngest daughters started complaining that I hadn't saved as much stuff for them, I noticed an envelope with my mother's handwriting. It was that precious letter. I reread it to my daughters with tears in my eyes thankful for the wonderful memory. I could hear my mom's voice coming through the words.
In memory of my mom, I am wearing my "Fight Like A Girl" bracelet all during the month of September. It's National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. Activities like the "Whisper Walk" are held to raise awareness of this devastating Cancer. For more information on Ovarian Cancer, click here.
Here are a few books on the subject: Ovarian Cancer: Your Guide to Taking Control by Kristine Conner and No Time to Die by Liz Tilberis. Famous actress Gilda Radner wrote her autobiography and struggle with ovarian cancer in the book It's Always Something. She said, "I had wanted to wrap this book up in a neat little package. I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned the hard way that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end."
Who would have ever thought that one tiny piece of paper with one tiny little story would become a dear treasure to me.
This year's Whisper Walk is Sept. 23 at Zona Rosa. For more information visit this website.