I couldn’t let October pass without a tribute to the noble women who have fought breast cancer and their devoted caregivers, families and friends who have loved and supported them in their fight. Here is a piece I wrote early this morning, following a dream that I will post more about tomorrow:
I lean her tiny frame against my chest as I see her thin reflection in the bathroom mirror. I know she will not ask for help. Still, she has become so weak, so frail, that even the buttons on her shirt have become difficult for her. I slide my arms around her and begin at the top, pulling, twisting, and pulling each button through the stitched hole. As I see her profile in the mirror, I recognize the wear on her face, the shine of light from her head. I pull her shirt down off her shoulders as the water in the shower streams across the tile, beats rain-like patterns on the glass door. My hands move across her back to unhook her bra, and I slide the straps off her shoulders, remove the prosthesis. I run my hands down her shoulders, across her chest, her collarbone, her space where her breast used to be.
The scar from where she fought like a dragon feels smooth on my fingertips. The new form is different, yes, but beautiful still. Even more beautiful.
I help her climb the small step into the steam of the shower. I look through the glass, not bathed in water vapor, and I see her again for the first time.
These moments catch me off guard. I feel like I am the one who should fight this monster for her, but she has had to walk a path through darkness and pain I may never know.
My eyes begin to well, but the tears are not full of loss for her breast, her hair; instead a soft smile covers my face as a tiny drop streams down my cheek. I still have the most important thing to me in the entire world.
I still have her.