Mt. Vernon Register-News

Opinion

October 23, 2013

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

My mother’s breathing was ragged.

I held her left hand with each labored gasp. My dad, her husband of almost 59 years, gripped her right. As she breathed slowly, shallowly, my dad cried out, “Save a place for me in heaven.” Tears fell down the face of my sister, who sat at the foot of the bed. We watched 79 years of life and an 11-year battle with breast cancer come to an end.

Our mother was gone.

The pictures on the bedroom wall spoke to what was important to mom: family. Photos of each of her three children and their partners on their wedding days stood like sentinels overlooking her bed. The faces of her seven grandkids peered out from picture frames. A devoted husband looked on adoringly.

Happy memories.

I thought of my three daughters – all of whom were born during mom’s long fight with cancer. Days before her death, they stood at their grandmother’s bedside and sang “Jesus Loves Me.” But what will they remember about their grandma?

For me, June 2, 2013, always will be a day of sadness.

Earlier this month, I donned a pink shirt in memory of my mother, Roberta Reeder.

To be honest, sometimes I think all of the October pink ribbons, shirts and merchandise trivialize just how pernicious breast cancer really is. That said, I want my mother’s legacy to live on.

One good thing about Breast Cancer Awareness Month is it gets us thinking about what we can do.

Here are some thoughts:

• If you’re a woman, schedule your next mammogram today.

• Give a cancer patient the most important thing that you can: you. Cook a meal. Sit by a bedside.

• Comfort a family member.

There are lots of charities that help folks with breast cancer. Please donate or volunteer. Your help is needed.

Text Only
Opinion
  • Why EU is not your dad's Europe The important-sounding Foreign Affairs Council of the European Union has recently reiterated "its strong support for Ukraine's unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity." Poor, destabilized, post-putsch Ukraine is to be congratulated

    April 23, 2014

  • Facebook bank could be disrupting force The company that rebranded the word "friend" may soon take up a more ambitious makeover: the word "bank." Facebook is on the verge of winning approval from Ireland's central bank to allow its users to store and exchange money. The company's plans are

    April 23, 2014

  • Warren's call for student loan reform As commencement season approaches, graduating students will soon hear words of wisdom from speakers offering experience, advice and inspiration. One thing they're not likely to hear about is the $1.08 trillion elephant on the quad -- our nation's stu

    April 23, 2014

  • How we devalued the 'R' word At the risk of angering somebody like MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry, I sometimes used to joke that I only look white. Actually, I'm Irish. Meaning basically that I wasn't raised to think the man in the big house had all the answers, nor deserved all t

    April 22, 2014

  • Can Hillary rock the world? WASHINGTON -- There are few happier events than becoming a grandmother, and almost none that says quite so loudly "over the hill." Ageism mixed with sexism is a toxic brew, but somehow tolerated. It's a often-used joke, but not a funny one, that wome

    April 22, 2014

  • Losing hearts and minds Robert Kagan recently wrote that, foreign policy decision by foreign policy decision, President Barack Obama has given Americans what they say they want. But the result hasn't made them proud of America or of their president. The same phenomenon may

    April 22, 2014

  • I signed what? When Dr. Sam said, "You've got the prostate of a 16-year-old," it was hard to keep from beaming. This must be how a woman feels when a complete stranger tells her she has a beautiful baby. Well, maybe not quite. Still, it was hard not to feel proud o

    April 19, 2014

  • Obamacare's winning numbers Obamacare's critics have had a bad week. On Thursday, President Obama announced that 8 million people have enrolled in new health insurance plans through the Affordable Care Act's marketplaces, and a significant portion of them are young Americans. Y

    April 19, 2014

  • The rise of big data: A double-edged sword Debates are raging about whether big data still holds the promise that was expected or whether it was just a big bust. The failure of the much-hyped Google Flu Trends to accurately predict peak flu levels since August 2011 has heightened the concerns

    April 19, 2014

  • Only love can re-make your heart Was Jeb Bush right to insert love into a political debate? Such was the gist of a question I was asked on talk radio in response to the former Florida governor's assertion that some immigrants come into the United States illegally as an "act of love.

    April 18, 2014

Twitter Updates
Facebook
Stocks