In fifth grade, my teacher had us draw a picture to give to our mom’s for Mother’s Day. I sat diligently at my desk, crayons at the ready, eager to unleash my inner artist. However, there was one small problem. “Who the heck do I draw this for?” I asked myself. After all, I didn’t want to draw attention to myself by walking up to the teacher and telling her, “Uh, yeah, my mom’s dead so I don’t know who to make this card out to.” That’s never fun. So instead, I drew the card for my Babci, and I’m thankful that from whamt I remember, she appreciated it.
Mother’s Day has always been a weird holiday for me. It’s not like on Mother’s Day I curl up into a ball and cry or anything. In fact, I don’t even think I’ve ever cried on Mother’s Day. But I do feel numb on Mother’s Day, as if it serves as another reminder of this permanent void I have in my life that I can never get back.
I could very easily continue writing this post about all the grief, anguish, and depression I’ve felt each Mother’s Day. And before I go any further, I want to validate myself in saying that those feelings are completely legitimate and I have no reason to feel ashamed about them. After all, one of the main purposes of this blog is to showcase the harsh realities of breast cancer. But at the same time, today is not the day to be feeling down on myself.
Today, I want to take the time to express immense gratitude for all the women in my life growing up that have helped bolster me into a strong, independent, badass, breast cancer feminist.
In the aftermath of my mom’s passing, there were several women that stepped up to the plate as female role models in my life. To name a few, there was my Babci (aka grandma), who I already mentioned, who was a hard-working WWII refugee that cherished me with all her heart, and often took care of me during the initial years after my mom died. Then there is Jill, who was my nanny that helped take care of me initially after my mom died, turned into best friend, pseudo mom/older sister, and my greatest cheerleader. And there is Joanne who is essentially my step-mom and life mentor that with open arms accepted me into her life when I needed it most.
I owe so much to these women in my life, more so than I can ever explain, since let’s be honest, they put up with so much of my angsty annoying BS! In all seriousness, they always have encouraged me to be strong, to be authentic, and to be courageous. Not only were they there at the dance recitals, track meets and award ceremonies, but they were there to pick me up from dance class, track practice, and school. They’ve taught me the value of what it means to love and be loved unconditionally. They gave me a sense of purpose, and encouraged me to dream big. I am forever indebted to them.
Although the initial inspiration of this blog stems from my mom passsing away from breast cancer, the growth of this blog relies on the belief that women affected by this horrible disease can be inspired by one another to be brave, bold, and relentless in the pursuit to holding the government, charitable organizations, and for-profit companies accountable in the pursuit of ending breast cancer. The women in my life have lifted me in my darkest times, and ultimately empowered me to become the breast cancer feminist that I am today. And I hope in dedication to them, through this blog I can try my hardest to create a network of badass women that will lift each other up for a cause much greater than ourselves. We may have suffered tremendous loss, but together we can be stronger than we ever imagined.
With that in mind, happy Mother’s Day, cheers to all the amazing women in my life, and to all the badass women reading and supporting my blog!
PS. In spirit of Mother’s Day, don’t forget to check out the three reasons why I won’t be participating at #ProjectOM this weekend!