Race to the cure the sign said.
It had no arrows to point the way,
just baby pink ribbons fluttering in the evening breeze,
Promises unfulfilled and tears not shed as
warriors wander in confused silence.
Bands played, banners swaying in time.
Walkers hurried after runners.
Finish fast, finish first, conquer!
Survive to be more, survive to be better,
kinder, strong, compassionate.
But pictures of the departed
decorated their shirts
in memory of the fallen.
Sisters, mothers, wives gone
before the promised cure.
Walking through the gauntlet of pink
on the shelves.
Assaulted by pleas to buy and feel
like you have done your part.
Meaningless games on social media
touting awareness inanely, as though
women don’t know they have breasts
that can house mutant cells.
Day after day, we die and become memories
worn on pink, worn out and ripped from the wearing.
Dead, departed, passed but not peaceful,
called to be pathfinders, angels, guardians of the living.
Commodities to be sold, symbols of need,
Donate, buy and march on.
But above all, feel good about yourself.
Kathleen Strosser is a “lifer” with metastatic IBC. She is the mother of two and grandmother of three. She copes with her disease by writing, being an advocate, (she was a patient advocate at a recent international IBC conference) and finding support among her cancer sisters.