by Ali Ashton
It's Breast Cancer Awareness month and the pink ribbon is out making an appearance on shirt collars, blazers and shoulder bags everywhere. Knowing this widespread disease has touched
everyone's life in some way, through family and/or friends, it is only appropriate to pay tribute to those fighting the battle against breast cancer or has lost their life to the illness. There is definitely hope out there through medicinal advancements and through the power of prayer. Recently there have been reports on CNN Headline News that the death rate for cancer has shown decreased numbers, which is a small step towards victory.
For me, this subject is a bit more difficult. My mother lost her life to the battle last June and left behind a wonderful family, sisters, husband and three kids. I always knew Mom was a massive piece of our immediate family tree, but you never realize how much the woman of the house actually holds the family together. Loving, feeding, sheltering, clothing, grooming, etiquette teaching, maintaining the home, educating, and in a midst of it all, keeping a family close together by her very own centripetal force. She's the president every family member turns to, your inspiration and best friend.
When Mom was sick, I had no doubt in my mind she was going to recover and beat this thing. I was called to duty as her caregiver for the month a few weeks after she was labeled terminal, but I still overlooked all the medicines or the category the doctors put her in. I wouldn't have given anyone else in the world the obligation of taking care of her, even though I knew it was going to turn into one of the most difficult tasks in my life. Essentially I was her lifeline and holding the key to the gates
of heaven. It was all a matter of timing and how much love I could give her to keep her on earth with me. Selfish, yes, but I didn't truly believe she would leave me here in this life without a mother figure. I am her little girl! During the time I spent with her turned out to be a backwards metamorphosis. Slowly each day she would worsen, but I was still blinded by denial. I acknowledged and saw the signs, but in no way was Mom
dying. until one day she had to leave.
When she did pass my body had taken a toll in a range of emotions. I was not myself and was not living for myself; I had lost my identity in an ocean of chaotic tides. Pulled in each direction, drowning when the waters were too rough and not being able to find the
ocean floor to stand on. I hid all this pandemonium that I was feeling from my family since they didn't need any additional problems to worry about, they had their own bag of grief to sort through. This was not a healthy decision to block the emotional outlet so it took a toll on my relationships and soon it broke the relationship with the one man I had ever loved. Try dealing with the loss of two loves in the same time frame, ouch!
The only thing I could do then was seek help through a church group, family, fiends, writing, working out and trying to find the normalcy I once had. Without the perfect nuclear family that I had grown accustomed to this would be another difficult task. This is where friends become the sustenance of life. I have friends that understand who I am and my heartaches that come from time to time. But most importantly I am a stronger woman for the trials I have fought through in the past years. You can call me superwoman and I will be sure to answer to it!
Everyone has a completely different experience when dealing with a loved one battling a disease and with a loved one who has passed, whether unexpectedly or anticipated. For my two brothers and me, we lost a mother and a friend. For my dad, he lost his loving wife of 30 some years and a best friend. For Mom's twin sister, she lost he other half, her reflecting image, her counterpart and best friend. With saying all this, each person will grieve differently. Everyone will grieve a whole different loss, all different emotions due to the individual relationship with the person who has passed. The best way to be a friend or to help someone who is grieving is simple; just let them know you are there. You don't necessarily have to say something wise or the right words, a warm heart, body and soul will do.with a great big hug on top!
The significance of each grief or the defeat over breast cancer is how you overcome the sorrow and pain. Use it to better your life and those around you. For me, I try to help people that grieve and to understand the emotions that bombard each day. I enjoy each and every moment and try to laugh at every bit of life's funny twists and turns, but it helps to have a laughing partner!
Living life with faith and hope in honor of those who are fighting and have triumphed over breast cancer!
Please donate or get involved with breast cancer organizations such as:
Walk for Hope - www.walkforhope.org
Race for the Cure - www.raceforthecure.org
Locks of Love - www.locksoflove.org
Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation - www.komen.org