It's the details you remember.
It was October of 1967, and I was in sixth grade. I was sitting on the floor of our living room, and my mom sat down and told me Aunt Marie whose perfume was always "Gardenia," was in the hospital preparing for surgery because they found a lump in her breast. "What does that mean?" I asked. Well, it meant she was very sick, and would be for a while. I remember my mom taking the phone in the kitchen so I wouldn’t hear her crying when she spoke to my aunts and grandfather with the news. I remember it like it was yesterday.
I remember folding laundry in my home in Denver on a January night in 1986 when my sister, Sharon, called to tell me she was going for a biopsy at the age of 32. I told her over and over again, "It is nothing. You have nothing to worry about. You are so young. Healthy. It can't be cancer. It won't be cancer." Days later, I remember getting the call at work from my dad as his voice shook with emotion. "It's cancer. No one can believe it was malignant. Sharon's had a mastectomy. More details to come. I can’t believe this is happening to her." I went into the restroom and vomited.
I remember I was giving my baby a bath on a Tuesday night in March 1999 when I got a call from my mom saying she found a lump in her breast, had met with the doctor and would be having some tests done in the next few days. That Friday night, I was in downtown Denver for an evening at the theater with my husband and friends when my cell phone rang and it was mom; the news was not good. I was shaking when I hung up the phone. Our friends offered to cancel the theater and go get a drink.
Yes, I remember the details, the feelings, the concern, the fear, all too well.
We all have these stories. This horrific disease, breast cancer, touches us all. We honor all who have survived, and remember all who passed. We remember with detail your journey, and with love.