As I close out January and gear up for National Heart Month, I have good intentions to be more mindful of this gift. It is indeed a treasure - to still be here with my family, to fully live each day, to make new friends, and to work to raise awareness for women's cardiovascular health.
I have shared my journey with many of you. Some of you have walked it with me. Perhaps even more appropriate, you carried me along the way. Others have supported me from the sidelines and this has been a blessing. Today, I am honored to share the beautiful and brutal words of my dear friend, Rachel D'Souza-Siebert, a heart attack survivor and one of last year's National Go Red for Women spokeswomen. Rachel recently shared about the loss of her friend Rekisha, another National Go Red Woman, and I have to tell you - if her words do not move you, nothing will.
Thank you, Rachel, for allowing me to share your struggle. There is always so much work to be done.
"Buried deep as you can dig inside yourself
And hidden in the public eye
Such a stellar monument to loneliness
Laced with brilliant smiles and shining eyes
Perfect make-up, but you're barely scraping by
But you're barely scraping by...
Well this is one time, well this is one time
That you can't fake it hard enough to please everyone
Or anyone at all...or anyone at all
And the grave that you refuse to leave
The refuge that you've built to flee,
The places that you've come to fear the most,
Is the place that you have come to fear the most." - Dashboard Confessional
Once upon a time, there were 10 of us. The reality of our heart disease and no-bullshit, scream-it- from-the-mountain-tops attitudes brought us together - our paths may never have crossed otherwise. We parroted the same message out into the world:
So I can't get perspective. And it's not fine. And who knows what the right words are to honor her memory - I guess all you do from here is keep breathing and keep moving forward? And fight like hell so her death wasn't for nothing?
I'll let you know how that goes.
"I'm not afraid of death, but I resent it. I think its unfair and irritating. Every time I see something beautiful, I not only want to return to it, but it makes me want to see other beautiful things. I know I'm not going to get to all the places I want to go." -Viggo Mortenson
In honoring Rekisha and the 43 million women (and almost as many men) lost to cardiovascular disease every year, I ask you to please wear red on Friday, February 7th. Send me your photos (firstname.lastname@example.org), post them on Facebook and tag me, or send them in a message.