I have no pictures of my mom cheering for me at my track meets. I have no pictures of my mom at my high school graduation. I have no pictures of my mom sun bathing on the beach in Miami with me. I have no pictures of my mom at my Master’s degree commencement ceremony. I have no pictures of my mom when I became engaged. All I have are physical artifacts of hers, frozen in time, that I can merely cling on to in memory of her. All I can do is remember.
After losing my mom, her belongings that would otherwise seem mundane are priceless to me now. Breast cancer awareness symbolizes hope, but I want photos of my mom’s old items to shape a new awareness of what it means to not only lose, yes lose, someone to this horrible disease, but to lose hope.
Pictured in this photograph are a pair of my mom’s hoop earrings, and a ring I gave my mom on her last Christmas. The earrings weren’t fancy or anything, but she wore them around the house a lot. And the ring, well, she wore it a few times; she humored the gift as best she could.
When I cling onto her old jewlery, it’s as if I’m holding a piece of her in my hand. It’s as if she’s still with me, even when the photographs of me growing up say otherwise.
From time to time, I will continue to post photos of my mom’s old belongings. Together, they will tell a story of a life well-spent, but of a life that can only ever be referred to in the past tense. Breast cancer stole my mother from me, and it’s the least I can do but to try and attempt in any way I can to celebrate and honor the life she lived, because breast cancer ribbons sure as hell won’t do that justice for me. If someone you know has passed away from breast cancer, and you’d like to share a photo of something of theirs and an accompanying description, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will gladly share it.