Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Team Teal Tuesday ~ The Band

When my aunt Sue was diagnosed with lymphoma, my mom wore a lime green cancer awareness band in honor of her younger sister's fight. A couple of years later, my aunt Betty was diagnosed with lung cancer, so my mom wore a white band in honor of her older sister's fight.

In February 2011, when my mom was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, she said, “Well, if I have to have cancer I’m glad it’s ovarian because I really like the color teal.” I cringed, knowing that she was going to insist that we all wear those teal bands.


She didn't really insist that we wear them; we were actually more than willing to do so. Not only did we wear them, but we handed them out to a whole lot of other people who wore them in honor of our mom as well.


I wore the teal band in honor of my mom every day for the 19 months that she fought ovarian cancer. It was a harsh reminder every morning when I slipped the band over my hand that my mom was dying and there was not one solitary thing I could do about it.

And you know what? I hated that band. I hated what it stood for. I hated that the sight and feel of it on my arm was a constant reminder of what was to come, and I hated the way I felt about the way I felt about it. Like, maybe I shouldn't have been so angry about it. What kind of daughter was I, when there was my sweet grandmother who wore bands for three daughters? {She still wears each of them to this day.}

 
Me, on the other hand? Well, I made a pact with myself that I would wear the teal band until the day we buried my mother. I knew that if I wore it one day longer I’d never really be sure when to take it off.

I’ll admit that it felt very strange to not put that band on my arm the day after my mom’s funeral. I cried about it, feeling like I was abandoning her so soon after her passing and that perhaps my decision was wrong.

{Mom and me}

I keep my teal band in my jewelry box and I do wear it from time to time. I wore it on Mom's birthday this year, and on Mother's Day. And I've been wearing it this month because we're coming up on the first anniversary of her death and I've been thinking about her a lot. That's when I seem to reach for it and slip it on my arm - those times when I'm thinking about her a lot.


And now the band that I never wanted to wear in the first place has become a comfort to me. During the 19 months that I wore it, it became a symbol of my mother's strength and vulnerability and courage and mortality. It became something that I had in common with everyone else who wore a teal band for Marti - all of us wishing and praying for the same thing and sometimes nothing more than just a lot of love for her.

If you joined me in wearing a teal band for my mom, please know that she
loved that! Your kind gesture meant so much to my family and me.
 

PS: I'm wearing mine today.

24 comments:

Sian said...

I keep mine in my jewellery box too, and I think I'll go and put it on now. I am wearing a teal coloured dress today too :) I can understand your feelings about it, which I think you have articulated beautifully. Let's keep on fighting that fight for a cure and then maybe no one will need to feel that way ever again!

Becky said...

Mine is hanging from a hook in my craft cupboard so I see it and think of her and you every time I craft. My strawberry is there too. I do understand your feelings for the band and thank you for being so honest about it. xx

Maria Ontiveros said...

What Sian said! I just slipped mine on.
Hugs to you,
Rinda

Miriam said...

Such a beautiful post.

scrappyjacky said...

My bracelet is in my craft area.....and my strawberry in the bedroom.....I see them all the time...am thinking of you with love today.

Susi said...

Yes,as Miriam said...Such a beautiful post.

Audrey said...

I want to write more but I can't see through the tears. This post moved me, Deb. The picture of your grandmother's arm with all three bracelets.....whew. I'm thinking of you, my friend. Hugs & kisses from Charlotte!!!!

furrypig said...

Currently my Marti Band is sitting in my bedroom with three little pots of my daughters nail polish as I try and match the colour and then paint my toe nails... thinking of you lots and lots and sending hugs xxx

Alison said...

My band sits on top of my jewellery box, along with the other one....they are a daily reminder of strength and courage...and not just Marti's,my dear fiend!
Alison xx

Karen said...

Mine is in a basket on my dresser along with another one for a friend. I see them every day, and like you, wish I didn't have to have them. But also like you, they remind me of the courage and strength both these ladies showed day after day.

Abi said...

Your post brought tears to my eyes today Deb. Praying and thinking of your special mum and the people she brought together through team teal.

debs14 said...

Such a lovely post Deb. every time I see mine in my jewellery box I think of what you all went through, and the thought of your grandmother having to wear 3 for her children, well that is an emotional one.
I am sure that your mum loved the fact that Team Teal brought so many of us together. We have much to thank her for xxx

Irene said...

I wear mine often and think of your mom when I wear it. Sending hugs your way.

Sinead said...

This is such an emotional and moving post. Thank you for sharing so honestly and showing the struggle of wearing the band, as well as the comfort it brings now. Sending hugs and prayers your way xxx

helena said...

off to put mine on - been thinking about your courage and strength this month - and I agree with Sian about keeping on the fight for cures

alexa said...

Very beautifully and courageously expressed, and I will be thinking of you especially this month and next ... My mother's sister ( my godmother) has just been diagnosed with untreatable pancreatic cancer, and those who walk with their ill loved ones or have walked alongside them on that journey, are much in my thoughts. I found the picture of your grandmother's wrist and the realisation that she has seen three daughters die before her extremely poignant ...
I will be thinking of you all ...

Lisa-Jane said...

Mementoes like these are tricky little buggers. Reminders of hard times and yet reminders of last moments and courage and fighting and hope against hope. I'm glad you can find a little comfort in it too xx

Fiona@Staring at the Sea said...

What a beautiful post Deb. Such a powerful and heart breaking image of your Grandmother wearing those 3 bands. Thinking of you x

Amy said...

Mine is in my top draw and I see it everyday too.

I am so moved by that shot of your grandma, sending many warm and wonderful thoughts your way Deb :)

Melissa said...

What a beautiful story about the bands & your feelings. I can hardly believe it's been a year - may your month be filled with many wonderful memories of your mom.

Cheri said...

Playing catch up on your blog today and got a lump in my throat over this one. I still have my band, but it isn't with me here in Dallas. But I will pull it out next week in honor and remembrance of Marti's fight. I can't believe your poor grandmother has to wear three of those! And all different colors. As I'm celebrating my babies' birthday today I can't even imagine having to sport bands for them. Damn, now I'm crying. Hoping for continued strength and healing for you and your family over the next two months.

Karen said...

I often wear my special K band and have my other teal band in my makeup draw. I can totally understand your love hate relationship with it. Sending hugs across the miles x

Jo said...

It's amazing the things that we draw comfort from. I have my dad's coat hanging in my hall and when I'm feeling down I go and take hold of the sleeve and imagine I'm holding him. x

Gail said...

What a beautiful post Deb. Mine is on my night table right beside where I put my glasses so I see it everyday. I'll be putting it on in a bit with thoughts of your Mum and my cousin/godmother whose birthday it would have been today.

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