The first time I really noticed Breast Cancer Awareness Month was while I was recovering from a bi-lateral mastectomy and a cancer diagnosis that fast-tracked me into a whole new plane of existence and a new level of intolerance for all things pink and sparkly. Especially ribbons, which seemed to be sprouting off everyone’s lapels like weeds.
That was the moment, the moment when the roller coaster in his world started going up again, the moment that my 10 year old understood the personal power he had inside. He wasn’t passive, he was strong. He was confident. He could ride any coaster, figurative or literal, and come out triumphant.
I know I am not unique in this. I remember seeing adults crying at weddings and telling myself that I will never be like that, and now, here I am falling apart over smiling pictures of my kids at camp and hiding in my closet so none of my other kids will see.
Actively take part in the greatest kickstarter ever that’s been running for years behind the scenes of every hashtag, meme, and status update but has somehow fallen behind the far easier “click and share” culture of publicly feeling good.
Even though I had seen that set up so many times, I wasn’t prepared for the emotional punch of seeing my own kid in that place. Walking on train tracks that led millions to their deaths. Walking through rooms that might have been the last places of my family.
The night before the procedure, I didn’t sleep. I googled my symptoms and like any decent Dr. Google consultation, confirmed the worst. At 3:30AM, though, annoyed with sitting around, I went into my closet and packed up my bag for the next day. A book. My phone charger. Socks. And then, right there, sitting on a shelf as if it somehow knew, was my long, lost cape.