The email started out like this; You should not have liked or commented! Now you have to pick one of the 14 below and post to your status. This is the 2014 breast cancer awareness game. Don’t be a spoil sport choose your poison and change your status to one of these;
I just removed my status about being gay and here’s why…. First off, I don’t normally do those things, from the “change your status,” to the “most people won’t post this” or even the “90% of people won’t post this autism status” thing because I don’t like to be a follower. At first glance I thought that this one, it was pretty cute, I could choose to post that I am gay… which I am… which in itself made me giggle. Second off, I didn’t actually READ the description of the game. The game asks you to post a nonsensical status and when people comment or “like” your post, you send a private message telling that person that they now have to change their status as well. Being honest, I saw the jist of it, which I have seen so many times that I got lazy and didn’t read the first part. This particular “game” is to bring attention to Breast Cancer. Yes, by posting that I am gay, I am somehow bringing awareness to something that far too many people are already far too closely aware of.
I don’t actually know anyone who doesn’t have some intimate knowledge of cancer. Be it from a family member, or a friend, or even a friend’s family. Everyone knows someone who has or has had, or might have, or knows someone who has had Cancer… This isn’t a joke. People die from Cancer every day. My father, grandmother, and aunt all died from Lung Cancer (though my dad’s cancer was in everything). I have several friends, and even some acquaintances that have also been touched by Cancer… Touched… touched doesn’t begin to describe it really does it? I touch the keys on my keyboard as I type this. I touched my dog’s head while I smiled down at her, I was touched by the love shown to me last night when I took the kids (who are all grown now… but I digress) out for dinner, and yet TOUCHED is so not the right word for what Cancer does to a person, be that person the one diagnosed or their family members. Stricken, Devastated, Destroyed, Beaten, Hit, Slammed… all these words are better descriptions for what this terrible malady does to us…. These status games don’t bring awareness to Cancer, and the fact that I missed that first sentence tells me that… CANCER brings awareness to Cancer… Death of loved ones, our race to find a cure, our mothers with mastectomies, grandfathers with prostate exams, children who’s frail tiny bodies are the conductors for tubes and wires, all of these things bring awareness to cancer…. A game… doesn’t.
I feel somehow angry at myself, for falling for this, for not paying attention to what it was really saying. I feel as though I have let myself, and my loved ones down and so I want to take a moment and tell you about some FANTASTIC people I know who bring Cancer awareness to me.
Grace Elizabeth Chalmers – September 20, 1927 – July ??? 1986 – my grandmother. We called her Nanny. She was a ball of fury and not someone you messed with. I used to sleep in her bed like a pet on weekends at her house. I remember reading music with her from the Reader’s Digest books, she left me the books in her will… or her daughters decided that I could have them. Either way, they were, for a moment, a fond memory of my Nanny. She was 4’11” of evil Grandma. Her teeth sat in a glass in the bathroom and we made juice together. When I was 8 she bought my sisters and I matching jackets and curled our hair in squares around our heads… She was a tiny woman with a big temper. She promised herself she would never get old, old to her was 60. She died 3 months before her 60th birthday.
Claude Hill – Nov 23, 1929 – Dec 20, 2004 – my father. When I was 18 and getting ready to get married, my sister and I went to White Rock and searched, in the snow, for my father. What I knew of him was so little, however he had taken some time to see my older sister a few years previous and so she knew where my step mother worked. We couldn’t see them that day, so we left a note on the windshield of her car and hoped for the best. I was 29 when he died, but in that 10 years I got the chance to know Claude as a man, not as my father. I learned much and yet so little about this man who fathered me. When I was 25 years old he gave me the best gift of my life… he was proud of me, proud of the person I had become because he knew I did it on my own, and the day he told me he was proud, sitting there at his table in South Surrey will always be in my mind as the biggest moment in my life. He was taken from me with no warning and I knew nothing until he was gone. I miss him and for him, I give a moment of love and respect, he was a man who lived a big life and died a big death.
Karen Russel – Feb 13, 1945 – April 13, 2012 – my aunt. Auntie Kai (kie) was an ornery woman. She was the toughest of the tough, riding out the Cancer bug like a raft. Diagnosed in January 2011, she lived over a year with no chemo and no radiation. I can’t recall a day that she didn’t remind me that Cancer was eating her up. She smoked 3 packs a day for years, never actually finishing the cigarettes, mostly letting them burn away in the ashtray. My uncle, never a smoker, lived in the smokey haze of her habit. A mountain woman at heart, she once lived in the bushes and built a log house with only her husband, 5 kids and a horse to help. She was determined to live off the grid, preferring the company of her 6 dogs to that of human beings. At 60 years old she pierced her nose in rebellion. Her teeth out from 6 pm till 9 am, most often her scratchy voice was telling me to get as far away from here as possible. My sister and I got in the Volkswagon with one of the five kids and drove for 10 hours, making stops for breast feeding and grown up feeding along the way. We missed her passing by 20 minutes due to a fatal accident on the highway, bringing attention to our long drive, and the ice on the roads.
Elaine Hill – January ???? – current survivor of Breast Cancer – diagnosed in the 80’s, Elaine’s mastectomy and breast replacement surgery were never brought up until my father passed away. Though she was a survivor, it was not a topic that was up for discussion.
Mona – Jan 21, 1964 – current survivor of Cancer – Diagnosed, lived with, and survived Cancer, because she REFUSED to let it kill her…. She is an inspiration to me!
These people and so many others bring me Cancer awareness, not these silly games. Cancer isn’t a game, it’s not fun, or funny. I’m taking a moment to honor those fighting Cancer, those who faught it and won and those who lost the battle. Today’s post, no joking aside, is to bring awareness to my own apathy about these games and just remind myself that sometimes, reading all of something makes all the difference in the world.