Pink Umbrellas

People tend to write about what they are most passionate about in life.  For someone who is in love with words and stories, my passion can found on the pages of books and I spend a lot of time writing about it. For anyone who has read my blogs, this is pretty obvious.  But today, I want to set aside writing about my passion.  Today, instead, I want to write about courage and this courage has a name.

A good friend of mine is about to start a difficult journey that many women, unfortunately, have gone or will go through.  I said before how I loved words and that is true of most words but one: cancer.  My friend was diagnosed with breast cancer and will undergo surgery today.

She is an inspiration to me.  There are many reasons why she is, as are the countless of other women who face this unbelievably difficult challenge.  The main reason why I am in awe of her?  She has chosen to face cancer with spunk, determination, optimism, and a whole lot of humor.

When the doctors asked her to drink hideous concoctions of medicine in a white little plastic cup as part of her many, many pre-surgery tests, she exclaimed: “Not without a pink umbrella!  I don’t drink anything without that.”   And then she proceeded to bring with her a wine glass and a pink cocktail umbrella (the ones that adorn every kind of tropical fruity drink you can think of) to every one of her doctor’s visits so that she could drink in style.

She got her nails and toes painted a flaming bright red the night before her surgery so that no one, least of all the surgical team, could accuse her of being anything less than the diva she deserves to be.  She drew a smiley face in between the lines that mark her breasts where the incisions will go.

She ordered beautiful silk headscarves and gypsy outfits for her post-surgery chemo sessions.  She has enlisted a small army of friends and family to go out and get tattoos of pink umbrella symbols on body parts of their choosing.  It has become a symbol for beating cancer. It has become a symbol for facing adversity.

She talks about her experiences openly, teaching me that it is all right to be optimistic and strong and scared and fifteen thousand other emotions that pop up all at the same time or within minutes of each other, ever changing in its direction.

If I were to look up the definition of courage in the dictionary, her name should be a synonym.  Her name and all of the other women out there who bravely face this disease in style with their heads held up high (and holding a Coach bag on their shoulder and dark sunglasses on their eyes).

For you, today, I sit outside my deck.  For you, I pour a drink of red wine.  For you, I sip from a glass that holds a pretty pink umbrella.

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