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Big and Little Courage

In my first blog I told you the story of my Courage Cards; how they evolved from my need to express what had happened to my body as a result of cancer. I was a Guest Speaker at a Needlework Guild and I spoke about my Courage Cards. All of them were women, knitters, spinners, and quilters.

After my talk and over tea we chatted and the conversation came around to the difficulty of buying clothes when you don’t have breasts. We laughed about learning to sew darts in Grade eight Home Ec class, told stories about Home Ec teachers we had, and projects our Moms finished for us.

I was thinking about this conversation and appreciating how far I have come in being able to talk openly with women about my mastectomies and my acceptance of the new shape if my body. For me, laughter is the best indicator of health.

That is not to say that there have not been moments of great sorrow along the way. One day I was rushing through Costco and I stopped abruptly, my eyes drawn to a cardboard display of bras. It featured a beautiful, perfectly sculpted Calvin Klein model. Oh my beauty, I wept on the spot. It was completely involuntary and immediate. I cried with absolute longing for something I have irretrievably lost. I was blindsided by grief.

Of course, I made it to the checkout line (probably the longest one), and on the way home I cried again. But when my tears dried I wondered what I could do with my grief.

I’d like to tell you I started a fund for Barbies needing bras, but I didn’t. The important part was the question I asked my self, “What am I going to do with this grief?”

To me, the question is the courage. Telling the story is the courage. Telling the story will, I hope, allow other women with breast cancer to know that it’s okay to grieve in Costco in front of a perfectly breasted cardboard display model.

Courage isn’t always daring. Mostly I think it happens in the everyday, and in the decision to act, especially if the action moves you closer to being authentic and allowing others to do so. That’s what Courage Cards are all about.

Thanks for reading. Go be Brave!