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Friday, September 30, 2011


A year ago I received a text from a former co-worker from Tufts saying: "Hey Ann and I saw this sign at Bruegger's about a Pancreatic cancer fundraising walk. It's in a week, so I know it's short notice but I thought you'd want to know/get involved". If it wasn't for Cindy I wouldn't be walking on Sunday.

Around this time last year mom still went to chemotherapy appointments. I still have her blue notebook with me--for some reason--where I frantically wrote down every detail of her appointments, medications, and next steps. It sits on my desk today.

There are no entries for September 2010 so I assume it was a quiet month. But even so, I wasn't plugged into fundraising activities; my family and I were focused on appointments, transportation to appointments, and filling her medications. So I mean it when I say without that text I wouldn't have done this walk a year ago.

But last year things were concrete, I was scared--we were all scared--but things were concrete. A year later I feel strange. I no longer walk for my mother who sits waiting for me at home but I walk in her memory. And that to me is just strange.

I cannot go home this year to tell her what Jeff, Parveen, Dan, our team members and I did that day, but I know she must be aware. It is a very small comfort to know that our loved ones never truly leave us. But it's still a comfort.

I know Sunday is about raising funds for Pancreatic Cancer research. But this post is about honoring her memory and she was so much more than her disease. I do this because without her I would simply have no command of my kitchen. I could not come home from work, look at my refrigerator and whip up a meal for two or twenty.

I could not look at a recipe and decide that it lacks cumin, or it needs more garam masala or even simply some oregano. She is the reason why I can hear a song for the first time (any song be it Jazz, Classical, or Rock)and just sing along. Lastly, I wouldn't be able to blog away about my "feelings" if she hadn't been interested in the literary arts.

She showed me what it is to have to pick yourself up and just do it regardless of circumstances. She did not raise me alone, but she had to get up in the morning and go to work as a single mom and deal with a child who never stopped terrorizing her.

And of course let's not forget I still have part of her DNA :-)

Her disease drove me to learn more about this particular aspect of medicine and research so I walk for her on Sunday with my team. But I honor her daily.