Monday, April 05, 2004


This weekend a friend and I went to the Southern Women's Show. No, not something any boy would be caught dead at, lest he be forced to carry purses and roll his eyes for hours on end. Actually, there was a time or two in there when I wondered if I was even girlie enough to be in that place. It was a lot of hand lotions, beaded jewelry and pink. Including pink ribbons, the official symbol of breast cancer awareness. Despite the free samples and gallons of hand lotion samples, I left the building sobbing.

Over a year ago my aunt fell to the disease of breast cancer and I suppose I have yet to really cope with her passing. I mean, I know plenty of people who have survived the disease, especially in my own family, so I often underestimate the seriousness of the disease. Seeing the loads of women at the couple of breast cancer awareness booths touting the vast improvements in research and treatment did not bring me warm fuzzies. It made me angry. One woman rattled off a statistic about the improvement in mortality rates from 95% mortality to 95% survival. Don't get me wrong, that's amazing. Being an at-risk candidate myself, I bank on improving research, technologies and preventative healthcare.

However, the way the women all smiled and radiated angered me so much because 95% is great, but it isn't 100%. There are a lot of survivors, and there are some who haven't. I wanted the ladies to acknowledge those who scrapped tooth and nail and still didn't make it. Instead they stood there in their black and pink looking more like Victoria's Secret sales associates than healthcare activists. I felt bad because my friend's mom has recently gone through chemo and survived and was all gung-ho about the cancer awareness tables. The ladies were so happy that her mom was a survivor, I didn't have the heart to tell them my aunt wasn't and bring down all their joy. So, I just wandered off infuriated and distraught.

It's not their fault that I was mad. It's just that my aunt did all that stuff: the walks for research, the campaigning, the crusading. She was beautiful, outrageous, impetuous, immature and amazing. They didn't have a somber funeral when she finally went to her eternal rest, they threw a party. That's what she would have wanted. Maybe that's why I haven't coped with things. She wouldn't want me to be sad or angry. She'd want me to celebrate life for what it is, even in the crappy times. She'd want me to pick up the flag where she set it down and with my face forward, thumb the world and keep on moving. She'd want me to be thankful for those who have survived (I am) and help those who need it (I will try). In the very least she'd expect me to toast her with some Dewer's. What a broad.

"Of course it's my color, I bought it." ~my aunt in response to questions about her hair color.