Yesterday I awoke to the news that fellow blogger, activist and survivor Rachel Cheetham Moro (@ccchronicles) had died of breast cancer. Young, passionate, so full of vim and vigor…the news that she is gone is devastating. Rachel was one of those crucial voices who fought until the end to keep us thinking and asking. She fought with gloves off, and laid bare both the reality of living with metastatic breast cancer and the political insanity that surrounds the disease. She is deeply missed. I met Rachel through the weekly #bcsm chat, and she died on a Monday, I think we were all grateful to have that evening’s chat to connect with each other and share our loss.
Before chat came around last evening, however, we were hit with another dose of devastating news – the death of another one of our own, Susan Niebur (@whymommy), of inflammatory breast cancer. Susan, a young mother who so eloquently shared the emotional journey of living with and parenting through cancer, with a commitment to embracing love and laughter. The ways in which she embraced life couldn’t help but bubble off the pages of her blog. Her sparkle will live on in our memories.
We know full well that this disease doesn’t discriminate in favor of those who are articulate, powerful, clear voices who ring out against the political insanity that surrounds breast cancer. That has never been clearer than it was yesterday. We have ALL lost two important women, and they will not be forgotten.
If there is a blessing in the midst of this insanity, it is the way the #bcsm community has rallied in support of one another. Together we are figuring out how to mourn in a “virtual” world: a world in which many have shared intimately and openly with those they have never met face to face; a world in which laughter and anger, hope and fear can be discussed openly, lovingly and safely; a world where silence is terrifying because we don’t know what’s happening; a world for which we have no protocols or guides for how we mourn. I know a number of #bcsm bloogers have paid tribute to these women today, and I am honored to be among them.
There was other news today…the resignation of Komen’s Public Policy Vice President Karen Handel, who left the agency in the midst of heated controversy over the allocation of grants. It’s something else we need to talk about; it is a step, but just ONE step. But right now, with a heavy heart and tears that keep springing to my eyes, it will have to keep.