By Molly MacDonald
On Monday, the start of my “birthday week”, my dear friend Emily sent me a “Pin” from the popular and illustratively addictive site Pinterest. (Don’t even bother following me . . . you will be disappointed. There is little to see, and besides I am already struggling with my Facebook addiction and cannot add another site to the queue in my toolbar.) The picture was a bottle cap with an inscription in the lid which read, “Growing old is a privilege denied to many.”
It was the perfect reminder that this year, unlike 40,000 women in treatment for breast cancer, I will mark my birthday by blowing out candles celebrating more decades of life than I care to admit. (Damn you vanity!)
On my 40th, the flames united to form a large torch, and the entire cake was dumped in the sink and hosed down with water to protect the birthday girl from 3rd degree burns. So at this juncture in my life, I am quite cautious about the number of candles that are actually placed and lit on my cake and may go with just one. (By the way my favorite cake is Sander’s Colonial Buttercream, and frankly not much else will do!)
Coincidentally, but really probably not, on Monday , two key advocates and bloggers in the breast cancer community, Susan Niebur, http://toddlerplanet.wordpress.com, and Rachel Moro http://cancerculturenow.blogspot.com known for their advocacy and connection to thousands of survivors, inhaled their first heavenly breaths as their friends and family exhaled wails of grief at their passing. Niebur was 39 and Moro, 42. Gone too soon.
Also taking leave of our planet that day was Janice Voss who lost her life to the same virulent disease. Voss, was a space shuttle astronaut and scientist who logged nearly 19 million miles circling Earth. She was 55.
And as I do not believe in coincidences, then there is no irony that Voss and Niebur, an astrophysicist, who also wrote a blog inspiring women in planetary science may have never met on this hemisphere, or in the blogosphere, but most certainly are enjoying each others company in the universe. At least I want to think so . . .
For me personally it is my belief in an after life, that allows me to more easily let go of this life, while in reality it is this life, the only life we know that we cling to. Which leads me to tell you that I personally know several “survivors” in treatment for metastatic disease, clinging to life . . . just wishing and hoping and praying to live to see another birthday, if not another decade or two or three of birthdays.
They do not want to be denied the right to raise their children to adulthood, to see them graduate high school and college. To watch them vow to love another person for the rest of their life. And should they be so lucky, to see the birth of their grandchildren.
As I write this, there are other survivors, one a dear friend, in hospice care. For whom the elusive cure did not come just in time.
And in reality, may never come in my lifetime.
And so as I am in the second year of this new decade of life, I ask that you help me celebrate life, by giving a gift to help maintain a life while in treatment through The Pink Fund. http://www.thepinkfund.org.
Giving is a privilege. One only denied to those who see the need and choose not to meet it . . . .
“All that survives after our death are publications and people. So look carefully after the words you write, the thoughts and publications you create, and how you love others. For these are the only things that will remain.”—Susan Niebur