Little did I know, when I began this blog in 2013, that when choosing its name, it would come to hold more truth in my own life than I could imagine. Cancer Is Not Pink was intended to make a subtle statement against all the pink-washing of breast cancer, and perhaps, even more subtly, that cancer is not a color at all; it is a diagnosis and still, even all these years after the term “the big C” is pretty much defunct, it still kills.
My original background and header images contained pink as a contradiction and familiarity for those stumbling upon my blog to immediately recognize that my site was about breast cancer, but now, if cancers were the color of their ribbons, the colors of my blog would be pink and purple – pink for the breast cancer I had and purple for the pancreatic cancer which stole my son’s life.
The colors are gone. My thoughts are only in black and white now, with moments of clouded, muted grays.
My eyes still see the beautiful colors of nature, my ears still hear the myriad of birds who visit my backyard restaurant and spa. I listen to and enjoy their bickering when one bird decides that one of the bird feeders belongs to him/her and does not want to share. I smile, watching the young ones, still learning to fly but can only seem to navigate up and down. Turning while rising is still a challenge for those fledglings, but, within a week’s time, I have noticed marked improvement in their skills. They have not yet endeavored to actually go into the bird baths, they just teeter on the edge and drink the fresh, cool water I provide.
Busyness has been my saving grace through the grief which walks at my side. Two weeks ago, I took on a monumental challenge which would guarantee keeping me busy for days on end. That challenge? To organize the garage which my husband has turned into an area likened to something one might view on A&E’s Hoarders program.
Three boxes remain to be sorted, but the majority of this task is finished, including labeling of the tool chest drawers for contents and the smaller, plastic compartmental organizer where I have separated various screws, nuts, bolts, washers, rings, etc…
While waiting to finish the garage, I disassembled our outdoor lights which were originally (twenty years ago) shiny brass coach lights. They are ugly and rusty now. Rather than replace them with anything that might look as good as they did new, the cost was more than I wanted to pay, so I chose to refinish the lights which required hours of tedious masking of the glass areas. My aim is to have the lights finished and re-installed by the end of this coming week. I need to remember to charge my camera batteries to take photographs of my accomplishments.
It’s somewhat contradictory that my busyness has been involved in all sorts of materialism of this world. Since Mikey’s death, I rarely put on make-up, which only consisted of eyeliner and mascara, I take no pleasure in filling the holes in my ear lobes with cute ear studs. The only jewelry I wear is a thin gold wedding band. I have no need for anything new, anything decorative on my body nor in my home. I have food, clean water, a home and a husband who provides for these needs.
A friend told me that it might help my grieving if I started a memorial page for Mikey. I told her that I cannot do that. Instead, I chose to start a private blog, Letters for Mikey. I have not yet written anything on it. I am not ready yet.
Joining groups on Facebook proved depressing rather than helpful. One of the groups was specific to parents of deceased children, no matter the child’s age. The pain and sorrow and constant flow of new members was overwhelmingly sad. Another group I joined had to do with pancreatic cancer. That group troubled me, I felt selfish in my sorrow, that others were crying over their grandparents who had lived full lives, saw their children and grandchildren grow up while my 37 year old son was dead with no chance of seeing his two and four year olds grow up. I did not like that negative feeling which rose in me through my participation in the group. I was not unkind. I did not shout that these people should not grieve. But, loss of a parent, grandparent, or sibling in no way compares to loss of a child. I left that group too. If a group causes negative feelings to surface, it can do no good for me and I have no room in my heart for anger or senseless battles and… Cancer Is Not Pink.