“I’m having a double mastectomy on Wednesday.”
David Jay’s Scar Project
To read a Q&A about the photographer, click here. To go to his website, click on the photo.
It was a phone message.
I had called her a few hours earlier wanting to use her brain power to help me find a new name for this website. I was delighted to see that she called me back so soon. Then I listened to the message.
I was driving. Then I was shaking. Then I was sobbing. Then I pulled over.
All my years of therapy have me trying to figure out why I’m crying. (Like crying for crying’s sake is not ok?) She’s a frien-tance (friend-acquaintance). Not someone I know well. I like her. She was really nice to me when Art died, I think (I can’t remember much about that time). She has little kids. She’s married. The breast cancer is in an early stage. She said she’ll be OK.
I think “I’ve to get going or I’ll be late to my son’s football game.” I wipe my eyes with the back of my hand, smear mascara all over my cheek and curse myself again for not grabbing extra napkins at the store.
I ease into traffic. I stop at a red light and I’m f’in sobbing again. And in letting the tears come, I see that I’m crying because she’s losing her breasts. She’s losing her breasts!! Yes, it will probably save her life. Yes, she will have a better chance of seeing her kids into adulthood and parenthood without them. Yes, with the advancement in breast implants she will be able to have newer, firmer ones.
But God, she’s losing her breasts. She’s losing both of her fucking breasts!! I place a hand on first one then my other breast. I ask God to forgive me for being so unsatisfied with their smallness, their too-big-areola, droopiness. I cry harder. I pull over again. I feel her loss.
Since Art died, I can no longer say “I can’t imagine what you must be going through.” because I can. I can always imagine. Loss is loss is loss is loss. A life is gone. Two breasts will be gone. They are not coming back. That hurts deeper than hell.
I get driving again. The only way to deal with the pain is to go through it. For right now, the Pacific Coast Highway is my through.
I called her back later and left a message. It was hard to follow my own advice. All I wanted to say was “I’ll do anything for you!” I told her how so, so sorry I was. I told her I loved her. I told her I’m her Whole Foods gal. And I cried.
© 2012 Kim Hamer