Tuesday, July 12, 2011


PALM DESERT, CALIFORNIA - This is not the obligatory memoriam for Mrs. Ford that you might suspect. They are all over cyberspace, you’ll be able to find 50 thousand today if you look around. Mine is one of fear, intimidation.

Here’s why; Betty scared me. I saw her when I was young, on television. She stirred emotion from everyone I knew, on all sides of the political spectrum, both sexes and all nationalities. Look at that photo, does she look like someone that would intimidate anyone? No, but at the time, when I was just a little girl (little being figurative, of course, I have always been ridiculously tall :) she was intimidating.

She scared me because she said EXACTLY what she was thinking. Feeling. Suffering. Put it right out there, black and white and hard-stamped. Here’s the situation of the day, she basically said, and here’s how I’m going to try to tackle it. To the whole world! Blatant honesty, bold and brash! Unheard of.

I was the girl who’s mom whispered "cancer" on the phone when she told me she was sick (I had been in college all of two weeks when she called to tell me). She couldn’t even say the words "breast cancer" even though it was just the two of us. Betty said the words, though, years before. And still, some people considered it a shameful situation that required whispering. Now my mom was brave, don’t misunderstand me. She was a rock, and a woman that has been unmatched in the universe, as far as I’m concerned. But, she found that saying "breast cancer" might be unladylike, and my mama was a lady with every fiber of her being.

Betty didn’t care about ladylike, or at least not when courage was being discussed. Take your fight public, she encouraged us with her actions, just get out there and tell your story. The whole of it, the entirety, the good, bad, funny, sad, just say it.

So I do, Betty, in small part due to you. And I do, mama, in very large part due to wonderful you. Struggling to be open and candid, but still managing to cross my legs at the ankles because I am a lady. But I still say "breast cancer" out loud. And often.

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