Sunday, September 9, 2012

How I chose to honor my mother

On September 10, 2004 my mom passed away in a car accident. In 2003 my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had a large lump and portion of her breast removed because of it. In 2004 right before she passed on she had another lump biopsied and was possibly getting a total mastectomy. She died on a hospital operating table from problems with her heart before cancer could consume her. Big Ro's work sponsors a team every year at the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. Ro's friend who is like a sister to us asked us to join the team. Ro and I finally got the funds and paid our registration. I had exactly 1 week to reach my goal of $100. It was like pulling teeth but finally on Saturday my friends and family came through and I reached it. I was very proud and excited to do something I set my mind to. This morning we woke up at 5:45. Opening Ceremonies started at 7:15 so we wanted to beat the crowd. We walked around the tents and even stopped at the refreshment tent for a bagel some chocolate milk and a bottle of water. Then Ro called our coordinator so we could figure out where our team was meeting. We finally found our team and sprayed our hair pink and glittery! We also took our team photo and talked then lined up at the starting line. We followed the runners. We had originally planned on doing the family 1k run but when we saw our group in the 5k we decided why not and joined right in. The announcer was chatting and commenting on costumes and then we heard "Okay guys, it is a beautiful day for a walk through Garden of the God's lets get going in ten!" We heard the countdown and then the screech of the bullhorn. We were off! The first 1.5 miles were all uphill! The temperature was perfect and the spirit surrounding us was absolutely amazing. I cannot explain it but the whole time I had goosebumps and felt a presence all around us. At about 1.75 miles Rowen got really winded. We were walking next to a group of survivors wearing bright pink shirts. A woman who would be around my mothers age turned to my son and grabbed his hand. She told him "Hey there little man, I am so proud of you. You will get to go to school tomorrow and say you walked 3 miles around Garden of the Gods." She walked with him and I in a straight line for 1 mile. Then she let us go. I made sure I told him we were doing this for people like her who had fought cancer and was winning. I told him we were fighting for a cure. I told him that she was the reason and we could do this for her. I never even caught her name but that woman made a huge impact on me. The last .25 miles was the toughest. The poor boy was so winded that he was almost to tears. I kept telling him how proud I was of him. I told him he was a big boy and that not many kids got this far. He just looked up and smiled at me with that toothless grin of his. Then as we approached the finish line a big beautiful yellow butterfly flew above my head. My mom loved butterfly's. I noticed a few when I felt my lowest today. I honestly think it was her way of saying "I am here with you. Thank you. Please push forward for me." I never imagined my family would be doing a 1k, let alone a 5k. But what can I say? This experience was nothing like anything I have experienced before. It was a time of being positive. A time of hope. A time where we all stood united with no differences for just one cause. Breast cancer runs in my genes. I know now not to fear it. With all those pink shirts I know I can fight and survive if I ever get diagnosed. I honestly can say I cannot wait until next year. I will make my goal $200 next year and I guarantee I will reach it. God works in mysterious ways. This is his way of bringing me comfort for a few days before the anniversary of my beautiful mothers death. I am truly blessed to have experience this and I look forward to Racing for the Cure every year until I am no longer able to take another step.