My sister was diagnosed with stage 4 Melanoma in the spring of 2008. She started holistic treatments, changed her diet, stopped her medications.
We all prayed for her fight.
Her mother-in-law thought of her and purchased a bracelet with a cancer ribbon and various colors representing the various types of cancer.
She wore it with pride. She treasured the love her MIL put into giving her the bracelet. She valued all that it stood for. She held out hope for the future.
Before she died she asked me to take the bracelet. She wanted me to have it, wanted me to wear it. She guided me to where it was in her house. I searched and found it exactly where she promised it would be. I placed it on my wrist. I was wearing it when I kissed her goodbye.
For the days, weeks, months following her death I took it off to shower and to sleep. Otherwise it went around my wrist as I readied myself each morning.
Until it broke.
I was taking it off one night before bed and the band broke, showering the floor with multi-colored beads. I dropped to the floor in tears. I was mourning a loss all over again.
At some point the crying convulsions stopped. The tears began to dry. The beads were gathered and placed into a small, ziploc jewelry bag and placed in a jewelry box.
I had every intention of calling my friend who does jewelry making and have her repair it. They were only that. Intentions. I never followed through. I couldn’t.
For months the beads sat on the stand in my bathroom. They called to me.
2 weeks ago I received the agenda for a scheduled work retreat. On the agenda? Jewelry making.
I could fix the bracelet myself. That is what I was meant to do. That is what I did.
I carefully laid out all of the beads. I added some new beads – beads to honor my sister, beads to honor friends I have lost to cancer. I changed the bracelet so that it was mine while remembering her, honoring her. When it was done and I put it on my arm I cried.
I was in a beautiful, remote setting. I walked outside and took in the peace, the tears streaming down my face.
I am far from healed. I get through most days just fine. There are days that hit me like a ton of bricks and I go limp.
I have healed the little piece I had left of her. It keeps her close to my heart. I find myself rubbing the ribbon in times when I need strength and peace.
She is with me. She always has been. She always will be.