Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Whisper

This past Saturday morning, I was honored to walk in the Philadelphia Walk for the Whisper. I walked in memory of a beautiful and kind woman who lost her battle with ovarian cancer only a few months ago. Mrs. H (MedicalMavin’s mother) was exceptionally kind, always warm and open, and a wonderfully supportive mother. After losing my own Mom to cancer almost 10 years ago, I had often found myself in the intervening time looking up to Mrs. H as a role model and touch stone for so many of those personal milestones for which we often rely on mothers. She would listen intently about a new job or how school was going and tell me if I needed a good eyebrow wax. She would offer sage advice and find the silver lining in everything. She was always there, gracefully and graciously supporting and encouraging those around her every step of the way. So see her leave this world so early, and to see the pain it caused for those left behind in the wake of that empty space, is wrenching.

The morning itself seemed to articulate all that the group walking felt. It was very gray and spitting rain, with low and ominous clouds. Although Might M and I arrived on time, it was as if the “walk” left early. Was this the early warm-up described in the materials? But why are so many walking…wait, on the *route*? Ugh. It appeared that either the crowd got caught up in the excitement and took off early, or the RD wanted to avoid threatening rain. The combination of disappointments whisked away those feelings of empowerment, and left us with the bare reminder of who was not there this year, who was no longer counted among the survivors.

But, rather than disband and count our losses (literally), we chose to spend a little time together and laugh a little and feel just that much more a part of something larger than ourselves. We journeyed on the walk – albeit a little thinner this year – and shared. We perused the educational materials and purchased blue ribbons. Later in the morning, we decided to spend some time feeling just a little normalcy and have some lunch together and wander around Manayunk. *

Now, Manayunk (pronounced man-E-yunk, for all you non-Philly-types out there) is an area of Philly that we have all frequented for the lifetime we’ve been locals and we’ve been there a million time for dinner, live music, and (years ago) drinks. But for the number of times we walked those streets or drove in circles looking for parking, NONE of us saw the obvious. This beautiful mural in the heart of the area, noteably right in front of a parking lot. This very, VERY large and beautiful mural.

Very observant, we are.

I know.

Turns out, though, that sometimes life just hangs out and waits for you to slow down and pay attention. Mighty M caught sight of the heading first – being a graphic designer, he’s like a moth to a flame when it comes to colorful things. Turns out that this sign has been quietly tapping on our shoulders the whole time. It just took a day like Saturday – full of remembrance and remorse – to remind us that the need for vigilance is always there. And we need to weave it into our lives and our patterns to make the most out of our time and our loved ones. To be vigilant is our own responsibility. No one will remind us to look up.

So, Mrs. H, you are missed very much. I promise to be vigilant. I promise to continue to laugh. I promise to be by your daughter’s side on days like Saturday. And I promise to keep my regular brow appointments, too.

You are dearly missed.

* A funny story to follow about droolFest ’06 at Cadence Cycling on Main Street. This is our *only* tri retailer in the whole Philly area and it glows on the horizon like Mecca or (in my world) Dairy Queen. It was my first visit. I love shopping in general. I love gear. You do the math.

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