My great-aunt was this amazing woman ... She drove till the very end of her life, often 90+ mph on the freeway, much to the thrilled terror of her passengers -- and just plain terror of the drivers around her.
When the lawyers started pestering her about selling off her many acres for development, she got so fed up she starting scaring them away by waving a shotgun at them. It worked, too.
The woman didn't wear purple -- or red hats. She didn't need to in order to live her life out loud and strong. And when she was diagnosed with cancer in her early 80s, she drove it away, too. A few times, until it just became too much.
I loved her so ferociously. I miss her, all the time. She was the last pen-pal I ever had. And when Butterfly was born with only a minuscule chance of survival, it was a no-brainer to give her my aunt's name -- and thus a legacy of strength.
I knew my aunt was watching over my daughter during the first 65 days of her life, when she lived in the NICU. I firmly believe without my aunt's unseen hand, my little girl never would have come home to mine. I know she watches over her still. And my Butterfly embodies so many of her great-great-aunt's qualities -- often to my great delight, and admittedly to my sometimes chagrin.
Why am I telling you all this? Because it's the best way I know how to tell you what I really hope you'll hear. I could lecture, give statistics, blah blah blah. But I actually want you to pay attention instead.
I have a blog-world friend I admire so very much. She has this incredible talent, this ability to create beauty that just seems to radiate from her being. This stunningly beautiful woman has a husband who loves her, and two sweet little ones. She's not all perfect though ... She SO uber-organized she actually writes out complete daily menus for what she's going to feed her family!!! I know, right?? Nuts! :)
I only know her through this online world, but while I respected her before, I respect her so much more now. Because not only does my friend have all of this beauty and love surrounding her, she now also has to wait for the results of a cancer screen.
I'm not going to tell you who she is because she struggled with whether or not to share her story on her blog (she tries to keep it all about her art) and I want to respect that as much as I can while still sharing her vital message. As she and her husband sat with her doctor, the doctor told them they "now have the job of convincing 10 women to make their yearly gynecological exam (pap-smear). We talked briefly about cervical cancer statistics among young women and the importance of early detection through pap-smears."
So I'm writing this blog because in reading her story, I feel like it's now my job to help spread that message.
So please. I can't badger you, but I can beg you. If you are a woman or love a woman -- your wife, your partner, your sister ... or your great-aunt. Please take care of her. Please take care of yourself.
I'm thinking about you, my blog-world friend.