It's May 1st, which is the start of Brain Cancer Awareness month...and honestly, I cannot think of anything I am more acutely aware of than the effect brain cancer can have on your life.
It has been nearly fifteen months since we lost our sweet Missy. God, I cannot believe it has been that long. When I think about what happens in fifteen months, how much has changed, how much the babies have grown...my heart is shattered. As we plan Henry's birthday and I begin the process of sorting through the pictures of his last year, only to remember that she isn't in any of them...his entire forth year, without his beloved Aunt Mimi. When I think of family coming to graduation, of grilling out and enjoying the summer, of sitting in the bleachers watching t-ball... Shattered, again and again.
I am having a harder time putting my grief into words lately. I think in a way it is moving into a different form. Not easier, not harder, but definitely different. Day in and day out, life is moving forward. And with that movement of time, my grief sits less on the surface, and has settled into a defining characteristic of who I am, of who our entire family is, now. In the 'after'. Initially there is shock and tears and heartache and everything is so RAW. Last year, during this month, I was raw. Broken. Focusing mainly on breathing in and out, getting through each day. But as that raw grief has lessened, this new, dull absence settles in it's place.
And it's hard too. Because at fifteen months, we are living our lives, and yet at random moments it's like a punch in the gut that I am living life without my baby sister. The she is gone, and I am here. That when my laughter comes easier, it sometimes feels like a betrayal, even when I know she would never see it that way. But how do I laugh, when she is gone? How do you move forward with life, after this type of crushing grief? I have no idea, but fifteen months later, all I can say is you do. You move forward. Not past, you never move past this loss. But you move forward, carrying their love and their life with you. Laughing because she would want me to laugh. Crying because she isn't here to laugh with me.
I was reading something about the new Fault in Our Star's movie, and the author made a statement that having a short life didn't mean you couldn't have a great life. And I thought of my Missy. What an amazing life. Too short, but amazing.
I wasn't sure if I was going to do the #GreyForMissy this year. So many of you participated last year, and the pictures were so overwhelming and wonderful and will always be a light in the dark of my very deep grief. But I wasn't sure if I wanted to do it again... maybe because I was worried people wouldn't do it? That I was too busy to set it up? I am not really sure. But when I thought of it, I thought "probably not". Then this morning I woke up and it was on my heart. Heavy. So I am going to ask you again this year:
On Thursday May 8th, please consider wearing Grey for Missy, and for all those who are impacted by brain cancer. Take a picture and send it to me (biogirl79(at)gmail(dot)com), or tag it on any social media site with #GreyForMissy and I will collect the images and post them here on the 8th. You can also just post them on the Bio Girl facebook page, or send them to me on twitter or Instagram if you find that easier. (I am everywhere).
Last year this was moving beyond words, and although I know we may not have as many people participate this time around, each and every picture touches my heart and helps me to remember that although her life was too short, it was wonderful, and she has touched so many.
Please also consider making a donation to Brain Cancer research. Amazing people like my little sister will continue to be lost from this awful disease until a cure can be found. Your dollars can be the difference.
*So after setting this entire thing up last year I realized it is much more common in the US to spell grey with an A, so grAy. Which... fine. Whatever. Spelling has never been my forte, BUT since grEy is acceptable, we are sticking with it. Let's just consider it fancy, like when people spell Center Centre. Not a mistake. FANCY.