"Mommy, why is October pink month?" asks my ever curious 5 year old. She's glancing back at the grocery stand covered in pink ribbon products. I wonder how I would have answered her question had things been different.
What would I have said if my forever friend had never called with cracking voice, "I found a lump..."
The flashbacks come quick bringing a pit in my stomach and chills across my face.
I'm in her guest bedroom, writing a letter of hope begging God she'll open it years and years and years from now, only to remember. I'm throwing my phone in the grass, her husband's news of a double mastectomy and months of chemo pounding in my head. I'm on a couch across from her mom who through tears is steadfastly thanking our Lord for this trial, while the rest of us sob and ask that His mercy would come quick and save. I'm pushing a stroller next to her. Leaves crunch under our feet and we watch our children run ahead laughing. She wears the first hat out of necessity. It covers the clumps that began to fall that morning. And some days there are no words. And all you can do is pray through your eyes.
There are many images and they are different every time I stop and think pink. I don't have her full pinked perspective. But when you've lived even just a bit of pink you don't have an average answer when your five your old asks, "What's with all the pink?"
Before, I may have said, "I'll explain it when you're older, honey. Now grab your granola bars. Let's keep moving."
Do I wish that were the case? That it had all never happened. Not for a heartbeat. And here in Safeway, two years later I'm thankful she stops me in my tracks. I'm thankful her little pink question interrupts my thoughts of what's next on the list, because I have been given a much better answer.
"Do you remember when Aunt Kara was sick and had to take that yucky medicine?"
"And do you remember how we prayed that God would help her get better?"
"Well, this is the month when we remember that God always hears our prayers. That He healed her, and we pray for anyone else who might be sick like Aunt Kara was."
The 3 year old blonde interrupts from the cart. "Yeah, cause God loves us!"
And with those words I see my friend, not like she was before the cancer, not like she was during the cancer, but how she is now. Her smile a little brighter. Her steps more purposeful. Her heart overflowing in compassion more than ever before. And I know it deep again. The sweet blonde is right. God does love us.
The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness." ~ Jeremiah 31:3