When I was in the 5th grade, my sister passed away. It was a couple of months before her 1st birthday. November 9. I will always remember that day, and the days following. Our home became a meeting place for all family and friends giving us support. They brought meals, comfort, advice, anything they could to help us in our time of need. The days after her death, and leading up to her funeral, we were surrounded by people. All the time. It was comforting and felt safe. With all these people around, we had moments of distraction we so desperately needed. There were moments of hope…..that life could be ok even though our hearts were broken. The funeral happened, the church provided a space for lunch, and we had a community of people showing us love. Then it was over. Everyone went about their lives. Their few days of grieving was over, and the moved back in to their normal lives. But our lives were still completely changed and devastated….and now we were alone. Those days, weeks, months, and even years after a loss like that can be filled with such horrible times….and most people know that once the initial shock has worn off, most everyone else will just move on. It’s not like they don’t care, but their lives are not as deeply affected by your loss. They still have their jobs, kids, obligations, and lives. They don’t mean to be distant…..but it’s not their loss.
Today is the last day of breast cancer awareness month. People wore their pink, had their events, and showed the world they cared about those going through breast cancer. Breast cancer survivors and fighters felt the attention. The constant support, daily reminders of how much everyone cared. Why don’t more women get the tests they need? Why don’t more charities help pay for bills, transportation, or basic needs? They raised their voices, got all excited about their cause, and then……November 1 hits and it’s all over. They don’t mean to move on. It’s not like they don’t care. But the reality of breast cancer isn’t something they are personally affected by, and they have other causes to support. Guess what? Someone going through breast cancer doesn’t magically stop going through it at the end of October. I was diagnosed in August and ended treatment the next June. October was just one month during my treatment time…..and one month out of the year. I deal daily with the effects of what breast cancer did to me. It doesn’t go away tomorrow.
My point…..really, I have one…..is don’t forget about us. Or all the people affected every day by any disease or situation. Every month brings a new thing to be aware of…..but every person lives with those things every single day. We still need help. Funding for research. Awareness. It’s easy to be sucked in to the excitement of a cause…..but don’t forget those people dealing with it every day. Offer to help someone. Make a meal. Walk a dog. Help clean or run errands. Donate to research. Be a listening ear. Just don’t forget that we go on after October….