A few weeks ago, Rick needed to make a trip down to Utah for work. We all decided it would be super fun to make a family trip of it, so I started coordinating with our Utah people to figure out visits. I texted, emailed, called and sent messages on Facebook to people we wanted to connect with. When I got the response from the mom of my son’s friend, I was touched, and taken aback. She replied that the day we’d be coming down was the anniversary of her brother’s death, and that her family would be spending that day in service, to honor his memory, so her son wouldn’t be able to hang out.
This Tuesday is the twelfth anniversary of finding out about my dad’s cancer. And the first of December is the anniversary of his death. Twelve years have passed, and every day I think of him. Every time we go to Utah, we make the detour to Ogden to put flowers on his grave. We stop at the same flower shop every time. And every time, I buy the same thing, based on a song he used to sing: one bunch of Shasta daisies, and one bright colored Gerbera daisy. As I place the flowers on his headstone, the words of the song fill my head and come out as tears on my cheeks: “I’ll give you a daisy a day, Dear. I’ll give you a daisy a day. I’ll love you until the rivers run still and the four winds we know blow away.”
Shortly after our trip to Utah, Rick and I were at a store where there was a large display of fleece blankets. They were heavily discounted, and when I saw them, I knew what I needed to do. I decided that I would put together care bags for local folks dealing with cancer, and donate them on December 1st, the anniversary of my dad’s death.
So, the next day, while I was waiting in the salon as Ike got his hair cut, the thought occurred to me to ask the manager whether they’d be willing to donate some bottles of lotion to my endeavor. As an Aveda salon, they have great products and community-awareness. I thought about how wonderful it would be for each patient to have a luxury item like a bottle of any size of Aveda’s lotion. So, I asked. And three days later, they happily gave me 15 full size bottles of their Breast Cancer Awareness lotion. I could not keep from crying as I hugged the manager and told her how much this gesture means to me.
This year, as the anniversary of my dad’s passing presents itself, I will be in the hospital. I will be delivering fifteen Cancer Care Bags to fifteen people who are fighting. I will be sharing the love of those who donated to this cause as I remember my own dad who lost his battle. And the tears that spring to my eyes will surely be full of the sadness of losing him. But they will also be full of the joy and love of being able to do something meaningful to honor him, and of the love that has been shown in helping me do this. You know who you are. I’ll love you until the rivers run still and the four winds we know blow away.