INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - It never fails; whenever something tricky is going on in my life, I miss my mama. Who am I kidding? When anything happens I miss her, tricky or not. I try not to spend too much time on the ‘poor poor me, boo hoo, I have no mommy’ side of things, but doggoneit, sometimes I just sink into that valley. When you lose someone to cancer, it leaves a very particular scar on your heart. This isn’t something she signed up for, my mom, not something she did to deserve it. She was just swimming on the shallow end of the gene pool and didn’t even know it; lost the battle even before it began.
I talk to so many people who battle this disease and every once in a while, I am asked how I can still be hopeful. How, after losing my mom, after going through it myself, how can I still be hopeful? There are two things that keep me propped up. First, I have faith. That’s a biggie, can’t go through a day without God. Second, take a look at this photo. Just your average cute kid, right? (Who am I kidding. He is devastating, he is so handsome. :) ) Well, that dimple is the second reason. My mom had dimples. When that little boy comes over and gives me a hug and I see that dimple, I know that she is still right here with me. When I look into my daughters giant blue eyes, I see my mom. When my eldest laughs and I hear that sound of perfect joy, she is there. My little ballerina has the gentle smile my mom showed me my entire childhood.
All four of my children have little bits of her, and so I know I am never really alone. This photo was taken at a cancer center; a place that for better or worse is one that my children are as comfortable in as their own home. I hate that I have to go there for my own imperfect and weak body, but I love that I go there for the strength that I am given. For the doctors that hug me, and kiss my children on the foreheads. For the nurses that talk to me just like mama would – stand up straight, eat right, we love you. And I go for my mama. Because I wish the research we had now existed then, when she really needed it. Because she would tell me that every cancer patient is worth the fight, the fundraising that I do, the tears I shed when I talk to them. Because she would tell me to do everything and more to make sure my babies don’t get this disease. Because I wish she was with me every day. And because I know she really is with me every day; I’ve got dimples to look at as reminders.