The following blog post is in honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Click here to make a donation.
I walked across the yard. My heart began to race. Anticipation of what I would see, hear and talk about. The leaves were beautiful, crimsons, yellows, but not all of them. Some appeared brown, frail, imperfect. I heard the crunch of those leaves that had met their fate. They had left their comrades on the tree. The cycle had ended. Their job was done. Twas the season.
I knocked on the door and Tom appeared. He’s usually quiet, introverted but today he was different.
“Come in, good to see you!” he said with a large grin. I was taken aback by his outward and positive response.
“Is Carey here?” I asked with trepidation.
“Ya, she’s upstairs, a little tired, but she’ll be glad to see you. Let me warn her that you’re here.”
Warn her? What kind of remark is that? I’ve known Carey for over 20 years, we don’t need any warning. We’ve seen each other in all types of dress and situations. We’re extended family.
We walked through the dining room. I looked at the table and saw the abandoned stacks of papers, not the usual polished display of her latest decorated creations.
“Kathy’s here. Let us know when you’re ready,” Tom called from the bottom of the stairs. A few minutes rolled by.
“Come on up.”
I walked up the stairs and she met me at the top. She looked great! My fears were abated. We walked into the bedroom and she was picking up books, dishes and a few odds and ends as she headed for her bed.
“Sorry, I’m a little tired, went to work today,” she said as if she needed to apologize.
“You’re working? Why?” I asked in disbelief.
“It’s better than searching the Internet all day. That would drive me crazy!”
“I suppose,” I said, not knowing what to say next. She then broke the silence.
“How ya been? I saw you finished the last book,” she remarked with a grin.
“Finally I finished, now it is marketing so I have a whole new world to learn.”
“Be thankful for having met your dream,” she responded. I saw in her eyes that she didn’t have the same sparkle. I don’t think she was really thinking about the books, but it made good conversation. She was cordial but removed. Distant. There was an awkward pause.
“You look great,” I said with enthusiasm – my old self returning to the scene.
“Let me show you the latest,” she said as she led me to her closet.
“Target has the best hats!” She placed the crocheted black bonnet over her hair, “Better than the pink one that the hospital gave me. Are you ready?” She turned toward me. She removed her hat and wig.
I had no idea she was wearing a wig. I wasn’t ready.
– Kathryn Thorson Gruhn, MA CCC-SLP, author of My Baby Compass series