Praying in Pink

The CFL (Canadian Football League for anyone oblivious to the world of football) hosted a Pink Night on Friday, October 21.  When my husband turned on the television to tune in the Calgary vs. Saskatchewan game we discovered players, coaches, referees, and fans alike all transformed by touches of potent pink in varying shades.  While my husband concentrated on catching up on how his favourite Calgary Stampeders were faring against the Saskatchewan Roughriders.  I on the other hand felt like I had landed in one of those find the hidden picture puzzles, as I tried to spot all the many ways that pink had become the third team in the stadium.

It looked as if the pink fairy had literally pounced with a paint brush and dabbed it liberally throughout the playing field and spectator sidelines.  Pink chinguards protruded from under helmets, pink tape wound about players ankles, arms and legs, pink shoelaces looped through cleats, quarterbacks and receivers grasped the football with pink gloves, pink penalty flags flapped from referee pockets and they shoved pink whistles into their mouths to target wayward players; pink hoodies, caps, scarves and toques dotted the bleachers, cheerleaders pushed pink pom-poms together to pump up their respective teams.  Pink, pink, and more pink!!  Even the television station logo promoted prominently in pink!

I couldn’t wait to call my Mom to tell her about Pink Night which proudly supports the ongoing battle against Breast Cancer.  My Mom is a breast cancer survivor who this year celebrated 25 years since her mastectomy, a quarter century without cancer causing havoc in her body.

I’ll never, ever forget the morning of Mom’s surgery. I had come to stay at my parent’s home in Pennsylvania a few weeks before when my Mom received her diagnosis. This was no small feat since we lived in Massachusetts, I was 6 months pregnant with our second child and we were in the middle of moving to Virginia.  Nonetheless I made the trip with our toddler Donnie in tow, leaving my husband to pack up and complete the sale of our condo.

I didn’t go to the hospital but waited at their home with Donnie.  So the day began with the usual rescue from the crib, the happy snuggles as Donnie knew he would soon be free to explore.  I kept glancing at my watch as I silently prayed for the surgeon to use his skill and expertise in my mother’s surgery.  Suddenly the phone rang, and I quickly grabbed for it, hoping to cut off any unwanted news.  Surprisingly it was my mother’s voice on the other end.

I pictured her in her hospital room, submitting to the inevitable process of getting ready for the staff to wheel her to surgery.  But her voice sounded determined and focused.  She simply asked me if Donnie was awake and if she could talk to him, because she had a right to talk to her grandson on his birthday morning.  I took the phone to Donnie, telling him that Gammie wanted to wish him Happy Birthday.  Then we both listened as she sang with joy and love,

“Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday Dear Donnie, Happy Birthday to you!”

Afterwards she simply said, okay, “Now I’m ready.”

She probably wasn’t even wearing any pink, the surgery staff probably didn’t have any pink paraphernalia to arm themselves with on that particular day.  Perhaps only the prayers being sent by those who loved Gammie shimmered in a pink hue of loving energy.

Following successful surgery she told her doctors that she had to recover quickly as she was needed to help take care of her grandchildren.  She repeatedly said that she prayed that she would survive at least five more years to see how her grandchildren would grow.  To date she has celebrated her 50th wedding anniversary, her 81rst birthday, attended two grandchildren’s weddings, welcomed two great grandchildren, and this year sang Happy Birthday to Donnie over the phone for his 26th birthday!  Now she hopes she lives as many years “as the Good Lord allows me.”

I am forever grateful that we are still only a phone call away, and I can continue to send powerful pink prayers of love to her from Calgary to Pennsylvania!

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