Wednesday, September 9, 2009


I finally shed the three cancer bracelets that I've been wearing for a very long time.
The co-worker whose 19-year-old son is fighting Ewing's Sarcoma came to visit me. I gave her the yellow LiveStrong bracelet along with the story--my sister's acquaintance in Juneau asked my sister to tell Maura that when Maura ran out of her own strength, she could have some of hers, and then she slid the yellow band off her own arm and put it on my sister's; Maura wore it for months. I also gave her a Live Teal bracelet, and let her know that Maura's friends had had them made in a show of support (along with painting fingernails teal and making paper cranes). I showed her the framed picture of the Dynamo with Maura that hangs in my office (I know, I know, Kathy, I still haven't posted the picture.)
I was also wearing a second Live Teal bracelet. I don't remember how that started, but I couldn't bear to just take it off and set it aside. It seemed an assault on Maura's memory. But on Sunday, we received a surprise visit from a young friend we hadn't seen in about seven years. She came over as soon as she heard the news--the grapevine is long and winding. I met her when she was eighteen and on welfare and a little lost. I watched her grow into a confident, gracious woman. She's a little over thirty now, with two beautiful, smart kids, and the same iron will that makes her a survivor of a different sort than we talk about in the cancer community. She has also experienced recent losses and is learning to be a single mom again. When she asked for a Live Teal bracelet, I knew it was time to take off the one remaining band on my wrist.
Now, only Maura's silver charm bracelet graces my arm, and I feel bare. And my arms look old.


dhbryan said...

Naked arms, naked emotions. Hadn't been back to the blog for a couple of weeks, but am in my office trying to balance my checkbook and my 15 year old is three rooms away singing so loudly (while supposedly doing math) that I can't think. What I DID think was how Maura probably did the same at that age ... I pray I never lose the sound of my child's voice (altho' I've got to learn to concentrate MUCH better). Love and hugs, Diana

Kathy said...

You just passed the baton my friend, to another fighter. I think I wrote my arm band story once. Newly diagnosed, I was handed a LIVESTRONG bracelet and a ACS bracelet. I now wear 4 and give a bracelet to the newly diagnosed willing to share their address with me. It's a beautiful gesture, Erin and very symbolic. Prayers for your friend fighting Ewings. Do they have a carepage or blog?
PS..I won't bug ya about that Dynamo photo :)