When I was a kid, each summer in my town, we had a March of Dimes bike-a-thon. The organizers would block off one of the subdivisions and all us kids would converge around 8 o’clock in the morning to get a pep talk and to begin the ride. Every kid in town must have come out to that bike-a-thon each summer. I had no idea what the March of Dimes was, it seemed like a silly name. I knew there was always a cute kid on the pamphlet — that’s about all I knew. But, I went door to door and got anyone I could to pledge a nickel or a dime or if I was lucky a quarter for every lap around that subdivision I road… there were prizes you see. Not just plastic toys or hula hoops — bikes, brand new 10 speed bikes with hand brakes, donated by the only place in town that sold bicycles… the lawn mower shop.
Oh how I wanted that prize.
And every year, I returned to the bike-a-thon with my pledge sheet filled to try again and every year I left with no prize.
I was a kid.
That’s what kids are supposed to do.
I’ve never been in a competition where I gathered sponsors or asked for donations since those days of the bike-a-thons, until now.
Now, I’m an adult, I know what the prize is, I know who benefits from the money raised, I know the amazing woman who belongs to the beautiful smile in the picture.
There’s five weeks left until race day, plenty of time to donate… so, please do.
Posts Tagged ‘Lisa Bonchek Adams’
Last week on twitter, when hearing the news of Roger Eberts death, I tweeted this:
If cancer has blown your world apart, every time you hear of another death, a piece of you is cut out and trampled on.
It must have struck a chord with many others, it was “retweeted” and “favorited” and passed around many times.
It was what I was feeling, I didn’t know Roger Ebert. I used to watch Siskel and Ebert on Saturday mornings to see what movies they were bashing and sometimes praising and often I’d argue with the TV screen. But hearing of his death, like hearing of the death of Nora Ephron, or that girl I went to high school with, or the grocery checker who was always so nice… it affected me, they all affected me.
Cancer has blown my world apart, so often that I’m not sure if it was all one big explosion or several smaller ones linked together, like a mega roll of firecrackers rolled out and lit… the bangs go on forever — I hate firecrackers.
The aftermath of cancer, the picking up of the pieces, the stringing reality back together, the return to a normal existence… those are the things that take longer than it did for the cancer to take over a body and destroy it — cancer lingers. When someone dies of cancer, it doesn’t end there, because cancer has invaded you, your life, your world is now a world that contains cancer. It has you in its grips forever, you are never free of it — death does not destroy cancer.
It is the constant background noise to your life, the ceaseless ringing in your ears. I am not brave before it, I cower, I lower my head, I try not to be seen by it. But, it makes sure I know it sees me, there is no corner dark enough to conceal me from it.
I forget, briefly, in those periods in between hearing how its taken over another persons body. I forget. But, never for long. The periods of forgetfulness become shorter each day. Each day I hear of a friend who has been diagnosed, a spouse of a co-worker, a favorite professor, a screenwriter who made me laugh. When cancer has blown your world apart, every time you hear of another death, a piece of you is cut out and trampled on.
Pieces of me are scattered around — pieces from my father, pieces from my mother, pieces from my brother-in-law, pieces from my dog, pieces from friends and co-workers and friends of friends and complete strangers… I have been trampled on by cancer.
I wish I could tie these thoughts up like a beautiful package under the tree on Christmas morning — when you open it, out pops bravery and triumph and fearlessness. But, that’s not the case. There are no ornate pink bows big enough to cover up cancer… it’s ugly and ruthless and cunning.
Often now, my fear and cowering is accompanied by an over-bearing hatred. Maybe that’s what we should hope for, that we become so pissed off at this monster that we are moved to action, not just reaction.
After all, if you believe they put a man on the moon, the ability to stop this creature shouldn’t be far off.
Please visit the following sites:
Lisa Bonchek Adams Giving Page
Lisa Bonchek Adams Blog
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center
Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt
i cover my eyes
weaving its way through the cracks
in front of us all
shouting at the storm
we steady ourselves on your words
the waves start to crest
we close our eyes and dive
we see you walking on the ocean
sudden and full of anger
we are unafraid
linking arms because together we are strong
shouting at the storm
a chorus of screams building behind you
trembling and wet
the waves beat us relentlessly
and still we stay
facing the storm
in front of us all
walking on the ocean
I wrote this poem for a dear friend, Lisa Bonchek Adams, who recently found out she has metastatic breast cancer. She is sharing her story with all of us here — you need to read her, it will change you forever.
I also started a facebook page for her that I am inviting everyone to join called, The Adventures of Flat Lisa, so that we all can take her on our adventures or our daily lives. We are all truly connected in this world, so share yourself.
A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about closure. At the time, I thought that if I posted about closure then it would come more easily — and maybe it did. It’s hard to tell sometimes, when the memories will take your breath away and when they will let you rest.
I made a new friend on twitter last week (oh really, can you just let it go). It’s strange to think how easily friends can be made on social media outlets, maybe I’ll conquer that post on a different day. Back to my new friend, Lisa Bonchek Adams. Turns out, on top of being really funny (which is always my first qualification), she is a writer (am I that predictable), a thinker, a survivor. I read a post of her’s recently about her mother-in-law. It greatly affected me, I won’t tell you about it here — you’ll need to visit her site and read it for yourself. But, the name alone, Barbara’s Closet, sent the closure I wanted retreating to a far away corner.
I’ve gone through most of my mother’s things and sorted them for family and Goodwill and me. There are a few things remaining that I’m not quite sure what to do with.
When my grandmother was 81, she moved in with my parents. My grandfather had passed away just a few short months earlier and given her own weakened health, she couldn’t live alone. She lived with my parents for about seven years before she passed away. I remember going in my grandmother’s closet at my parents house — it never dawned on me that my mother never really cleaned that closet out. I don’t think my mother ever gave away all of my grandmother’s clothes. There was always something of her in that closet.
A few months ago, I was cleaning out my mother’s dresser. I came across a pair of pajama’s that I immediately recognized — but they weren’t my mothers. They were my grandmothers — her favorites. I remember seeing my grandmother in those — light blue, satin, pants and a shirt. My mother kept them in her drawer all these years — 13 to be exact. What am I supposed to do with them?
The things left for me to sort in my mother’s closet don’t really amount to much, but they were hers — her favorite things. It was hard to box her things up and give away — clothes, shoes, purses. I haven’t known what to do with the things she was using when she passed away. You know, her purse with all her stuff in it — driver’s license, lipstick, compact, the tissue she was using. The clothes I had just washed for her are still on the dryer. Her make-up, perfume, a half empty bottle of scope, her hairbrush. What am I supposed to do with these things?
I think my lack of ability to “throw out” these things isn’t necessarily tied to an emotional state or memory. I’ve never been one to tie my memories to objects. I tie my memories to senses — a smell, a feel, a taste. But in the case of my mother’s most recently worn clothes, her hairbrush, her purse — I think that my mother might need them again. I keep thinking she’ll need them.
So, for me to do closure, I suppose I need to actually do something with those clothes on the dryer. I need to toss out that bottle of Scope. I need to give away that last purse.
Closure is funny isn’t it? I guess you can get by, get on, get going without really being completely accepting of the circumstance. Maybe closure isn’t about accepting and moving on, maybe it’s about remembering and staying whole.