A year ago today, actress Farrah Fawcett lost her valiant fight against cancer.
I remember hearing the news last summer so very clearly. My Mum was in hospital weeks after her own diagnosis. My new normal at that time involved spending all my waking hours in the stuffy, air conditioned hospital room keeping Mum company, dealing with the seemingly endless parade of doctors, nurses & experts, and struggling with every last fibre of my inner strength to keep my emotions in check. Like many people with an ill loved one, I could not let my Mum see me the least bit upset or stressed. Our endeavours were all about healing, getting better, going home.
Remaining positive despite everything.
Last year when Farrah died, it was such a surreal experience. When actors, athletes, politicians - the famous - pass away, it feels like we are mourning someone we know. Strangely. Absurdly. Farrah's story was on the news continually that day at least until Michael Jackson died unexpectedly the next. But it was Farrah that touched me in a way that Michael didn't. Farrah had cancer. My Mum had cancer. Farrah was not defined by her diagnosis - neither was my Mum. Both beautiful, both fighters. Both with cancer now in the family.
Is this why... whenever you hear of someone with cancer, it feels like you *know* them - even when you don't? You can understand the pain, fears & hopes that their family is enduring. The dignity & respect of those stricken, and how they just keep on fighting for themselves.... for us. What is it about cancer that makes us feel this way?
I couldn't help but feel for Farrah's family today - I know how it feels when you're left behind.