When I think back to my childhood/teenage years, I remember my friends, of course. And I think of my family, and when I think of that family, my mom’s best friend Darlene is always a part of those memories.
Mom and Darlene were almost inseparable, almost like me and Christy or me and Ian. When you saw one you saw the other.
One of my favorite memories is one Halloween many years ago now. I was walking home from school. I only lived about three blocks away so sometimes I walked home, and sometimes my mom picked me up. I always looked for her, and if I didn’t see her, I automatically started walking home.
This time, I looked, didn’t see her, so I started walking my merry self home. That’s when a car pulled up beside me. It was my mom and Darlene. Mom was dressed as a hillbilly man, two of her teeth were blacked out. Her hair was tucked under a ball cap and she was wearing worn overalls. Darlene was dressed as Dolly Parton. Now, if you knew my mom and Darlene, you know how well these parts fit them.
I was mortified.
It didn’t stop there.
When I didn’t immediately jump in the car, they decided to drive reaaaalllll slow next to me.
“Little girl, you need a ride?”
I pretended to not see or hear them.
They continued to creep beside me, continuing to yell.
I wanted a hole to open up and just swallow me up.
Only in small town America where everyone knows everyone could someone get away with this. In a bigger town, they’d be arrested probably. I finally got in, hoping that would end my teenage mortification.
This is just one story I can tell about my mom and Darlene’s escapades. When those two got together, there just wasn’t much telling what those two would do.
Until Darlene was diagnosed with breast cancer.
She fought with the sense of humor and strength that carried her through most of her life. I remember the last time I saw her. She was weak, bedridden, spending most of her time in a bed in her living room. I can’t tell you how sad this made me to see someone who had once been so vital, so filled with life, now so frail. Darlene succumbed to cancer a few years ago. And her presence has been missed by many.
My blog today is for Darlene and for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It’s time for all of us to get out there sometime this month and do something for those that have passed due to cancer, and for those who have survived.
My challenge to you is to do something this month to promote breast cancer awareness. Wear a pink ribbon. Make a donation to a cancer organization. Write a blog. If you like to run, see if there’s a Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in your area. Pass this blog along. Check out one of the websites I have listed at the bottom.
And share your stories with the rest of us. What did you do?
Me? I’m starting with this blog. I’m posting it here and on my MySpace site. I’ll continue to drop my change in the collection boxes at Albertson’s for the Race for the Cure, and whatever else I can think of to do this month.
For now, I’m off to get some rest.
Here’s to great friends like Darlene and to eventually finding a cure for cancer.