I remember the phone call. I remember how my cousin employed her training as a medical professional to moderate her tone when she told me she had breast cancer. I remember the feeling of the bottom coming loose from the place I thought I had securely fastened it to anchor my life. Yes; I remember that day. I remember all the questions I had, but being unsure how many to ask. I remember her telling me after just a few short minutes (and we are never on the phone for just a few short minutes; ask my boss), that she had to go. I remember knowing she was silently crying on the other end.
And then, I remember things beginning to move very quickly (I wonder if she felt the same about time); there were numerous doctors’ visits for this and that. I remember for the first time in our lives, not getting my cousin on the phone every time I called. I remember knowing she was at home a lot of those times; but had nothing. I remember wishing I wish she would just pick up…because I had everything – for her.
Listen, I remember the fun we had going to get her hair shaved; because she decided to do it when she was ready; not when that foolishness told her it was time! I remember how gorgeous she looked; and how honored I was to have been asked to share that moment with her. I remember thinking that I wonder if she were scared and how much did that ridiculously wide smile of hers truly hide.
I know she remembers the surgeries, the pain, the fear, the anger, the conversations, the tears. I do. I remember mine. I remember praying, crying, cursing (a lot of cursing) and yelling. I remember telling God that I know of so many other people who deserved this instead (I have since asked for and received forgiveness for that); why did He have to pick on MY cousin?! Then, I remember figuring out later that He did not “pick on” her; He “picked’ her.
Some of you know my cousin; most of you don’t (but today, you have just learned so much about her); but here’s the thing: there is absolutely nothing I could write that can do justice to this woman and personify the grace with which she kicked cancer’s fucking ass!! God knows…God only knows what He does when He picks certain of us to lean on and to be an example to the rest of us. God, as always, knew what He was doing when He allowed this to manifest in my cousin. Because, He understood that this disease needed yet another survivor, a warrior – and one as beautiful, strong, hopeful, funny, supportive, encouraging and fearless as my cousin!
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Wear pink, carry pink, think pink, sing with Pink, I really don’t care. What I do care about, is that you go get tested…for all cancers; both the boys and the girls. If you don’t, you may not be as lucky as I am to still have my cousin to continue to fabulously do this life with. Let’s make October, November (aside being about my birthday), December (that’s about God’s birthday)…let’s end this year making every month ‘Cancer Awareness Month’. Let’s shamelessly feel ourselves up!
Because of God’s infinite grace, we don’t only have what we remember; we get to create new memories.