When my Aunt Diana was diagnosed with Breast Cancer, my entire world was turned upside down. She was my “Auntie Diana” and I was her “Punkin”. This woman, my mother’s best friend, was someone who was there to help raise me, and take care of me; and know it was my turn to help her. Not only had her husband passed away years before, but now we feared loosing her too. The night my mother told me the tragic news, I felt like I had been hit in the gut with a thousand fists. I felt so dizzy, so unsure and helpless, you have thought someone had just told me that I was the one with breast cancer. Something that night awakened inside all of us; helped us to carry on with our lives; it was courage, the courage to be strong, for ourselves, for her, and each other. Months had gone by, months off joking about hair falling out, just things to ease the pain; but there was always this dark cloud hanging over us, most apparent when it came time for radiation, chemo or doctor visits. A lot of the time she was worn out from radiation and chemo, tired, pale, with circles under her eyes. At each doctor visit, everyone was anxious to see if something else had gone wrong. But like some internal clock, we all “stepped up to the plate”. Her two sons took charge in the house, taking her to appointments, doing her household responsibilities. While my family took care of the boys, made dinners, we were there for her as much as possible; we came to her aid like family is supposed to. No one had any idea the internal battle she must have been going through, probably feeling alone and scared, with no husband to help her and reassure her everything would be alright. I have still wondered how someone who as gone through all this, could have the courage to be strong and calm for her boys. Months have passed now, no chemo, no radiation; just good old check-ups. Now we joke about things like her new implants, and the fresh crop of graying hair that used to be black. We were there for her in her dire time of need, and fought alongside her. My Aunt danced with death, and her courage made me stronger, a person who appreciates all the magnificent things life gives us, and someone who isn’t quick to forget the troubled times.
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