"I'm the one in pink," she said with a smile. Then went on to talk about how nice the event was, how many people were there and how she liked walking with other survivors.
"Why didn't you call me?" I said from my campus apartment at IU. "I would've loved to have come down and walked with you."
"We'll walk together next year," she said.
My mom died in August of 2000. Just a few weeks before the next Komen walk. It was too hard to walk that first year. Too much anger. Why did all of those ladies get to parade in with their survivor pink hats on, but my mom couldn't?
But the next year, my stepdad and I did the walk. I even got to walk with my friend Amanda, her mom (who would also die far too young from cancer) and her sisters. And from that first walk, I've been back every year. Wherever I've been I've made an effort to get back to walk with Jack. We have others who join us for the route and they're always welcomed guests, but it's really our time together. Time to remember my mother, his wife, but also a time for me to remember how much my step dad means to me. He was so key in helping me keep my shit together at a time when I was trying not to fall completely apart. He doesn't get Christmas or Father's Day or any other holiday for us alone, but the walk has always been our special day.
Except this year, I have to walk it from a distance. I knew it would probably catch up to me one of these days and this year's the year. I just couldn't get from California to Indiana to do it, but that doesn't mean I'm not doing it.
So tomorrow morning I'll be up with Chef at the Santa Monica beach walking our 5K at the same time that everyone in Evansville is doing their 5K. If you're at the walk, text me. Send me pictures. Walk in honor of my mom and everyone else whose lost the fight or is battling breast cancer.
Because you never know when there might not be a next year.