Dear Grandmama Ann,
Last Christmas my sisterchicks had our big Christmas party. Somehow we started talking about how we had all been affected by breast cancer. Staci & Mandi lost their Aunt Sandy. Becky’s Aunt Stef fought and won her battle. Kristen’s mom, Glenda is a 6 year survivor. Mandy’s grandmother Mary died from breast cancer. And I lost you.
So, we decided to participate in the Race for the Cure. A 5k run with all the proceeds going to breast cancer research and care for breast cancer patients. You know, I believe the cure ultimately comes from God–through chemo, radiation or a stinkin’ big miracle like He did for Daddy. So, even though it sounds mean, I didn’t run just so I could give money and support an organization. I joined up for you.
Not only did my sisterchicks & I join up, we got our MamaChicks in on it, too! Plus some of our best girl friends and family members. We woke up at the crack of dawn on Saturday, donned our very own sisterchick shirts (made by Beck!) and made our way to downtown Atlanta.
When we got there there were literally 1000’s of people–not just women, either. Lots of men and even little kids. They were all there because at one time they heard the words, “She has breast cancer.” And it rocked their world. I can’t tell you how it felt down there. There was an undercurrent of emotion because we’d all been through this shared experience.
The first thing I noticed was the racers with squares of pink paper on their backs. It wasn’t their racing numbers. It was a paper that had the title “In Celebration of…” or “In Memory Of…” Then they wrote who they were running for. The first one I read was a grown daughter and dad. Hers read, “In Memory of my mom, Bonnie.” His read, “In Memory of my wife, Bonnie.” And that’s when it started for me.
I finally got to the table where I filled out my own “In Memory of…” paper. And I got the marker, prepared to write your name cute and fun so people would notice. And then I stopped. I couldn’t believe I was actually writing down your name “in memory”. As if you were just a memory or a thought I used to have!
I pinned that paper to my back then looked around and everyone at that table was crying as they wrote their mom’s name, or their aunt’s, sister’s, grandmother’s or cousin’s names. All through the day, I would turn around and see a group of women or a couple or a lone person sobbing their heart out.
I was shocked at how emotional it was. I wiped tears away all day. Tears for you. Tears for our family. And tears for the 1000’s of people who were wiping away tears, too.
Whew! Enough of that! The race was actually fun! We walked and talked. Mama and I even ran almost half of it. I made it in 1 hour and 5 minutes. There were 2 finish lines-one for regular folk like me and one for survivors! The survivors received a medal and a beautiful pink rose. I wish you had been walking to that finish line! But, I do know that the finish line you did walk down was better and more beautiful than that! And when I walk down it one day, you’ll be the one handing me a bouquet of roses!
I hope you know how much I love you. We never lived in the same state. I don’t ever remember celebrating Christmas together. But you’re my Grandmama. I love you and I’m thankful for what you put into Daddy and Mama to make me the person I am today.
I raced for you.
I’m so glad I got to be the one to make you a grandmother,