October is Breast Cancer awareness month. It’s also my birthday month.
It is filled with many big reminders of the absence of my Mom. Since losing her, I have been involved in the breast cancer run in various ways. I used to volunteer on the day, now I sit on the “Run Committee” in Toronto, help with organizing it from May till October, and set up and tear down on the actual run weekend.
It is always a really emotional day, especially when I help out at the Survivor’s Tent. The Survivor’s Tent is where Survivors come, get their photos taken, celebrate and get a special t-shirt. For me, it is a really fun experience because the families are always so energetic and happy.
That being said, it also is upsetting for me because I always feel the void. I am not there celebrating my Mother’s victory against cancer.
My birthday is always a few days after the run. When we were kids, my mom used to throw us big parties with clowns or magicians, and she’d invite all the kids from school and the neighborhood. Now, I don’t really celebrate.I’ve even been called a Birthday Grinch. I can’t help not feel the absence of the person who gave me life on that day. I go to dinner with my brothers, we pretend that everything is okay, and that’s that.
But despite October starting out as a pretty emotional month, it is also a month that I love. It’s beautiful, the leaves are changing color, there is always a nice breeze in the air, and somehow, it is filled with gratefulness (this could also be due to Canadian Thanksgiving which falls the weekend after the run each year).
I don’t dread October (except that I will have to start saying I’m a year older), but I don’t get excited for October either. Much like every other thing, I’ve come to realize it’s a part of life.
It will come and it will go, and I try to embrace it and take what I can from it while it’s here. I’ll let the emotions come and go as they will, and accept that there are going to be special days that will always feel empty without her.
But, on those days, I’ll also try to make it through the best I can and take a moment to remember the times that I did get to celebrate special occasions – smiling and laughing – with my mother.