“Breast Cancer Has No Face”

Today marks two years since my younger sister’s passing due to cancer.  It’s not easier, as some assured me it would be.  Every day I think about her. Every day I fight tears and nail-spitting anger.  Every day I remind myself that this life is not all, that I have a “hope burning in my heart” to be reunited with my sister and other loved ones some day.

Last weekend, I did a bit of organizing and finally emptied some boxes of “nonessentials” from our move two and a half years ago.  As I emptied a box, here and there, I stumbled across something connected to my sister: an essay she wrote and sent for my review before submitting; a recipe for a smoothie she shared because I don’t like eating breakfast; an old journal with the plans we made for the book we were going to write together about her experiences; a prayer written in tears, pleading for her healing.

I found wrapped in lots of tissue the extras of the beautiful sun catchers she made for a women’s group I coordinated.  She’d made a similar one for all of us sisters for Christmas one year and since I liked it so much, she volunteered to make some for the group.

There is always something in a box or in a book or even on my cellphone or saved to my hard drive…these beautiful reminders of her life on earth.

There’s this precious angel saved in a text message.


She sent this to me the night after she read my blog post that championed her “fighting like a girl” against the cancer monster.  She made the angel for a bulletin board in her middle school classroom, probably for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  In the 10-25-12 text message she wrote, “My angel is missing her halo.” For me the missing halo has become a metaphor for Karlette as she walked this earth.  She was indeed an angel without a halo to many through her many selfless acts.

In her message she also wrote the title of this piece, “Breast Cancer Has No Face”–her socio-political statement about a disease that has no boundaries, no consideration for a person’s name, income, or status, and certainly no cure.

For me, its face is very real and it bears the eyes of my sister.

Leave a comment


  1. Easier? No – just – you will by now have found a way to deal with that gap. That does not make the gap go away.

    • Thanks–I remember your sage advice and keep the beautiful card you sent near for the most difficult moments. Hugs to you.

      • Hugs back. I have a younger sister, too – the only one of my siblings I am close to. I don’t know how I’d deal with it if she died. Her birthday is the 12th of March.

  2. Laurie

     /  March 12, 2015

    Makes me sad reading this post. My heart goes out to you…I lost my sister to cancer too. She has been gone for over eight years, she had just turned 50 three weeks before. It does get easier, with time. But the thoughts, the questions, the anger are always there. What I’ve learned is that time moves us a little bit away, each day, from those fresh moments. Then, one day you realize you are breathing again. That is when you will embrace the memories with a smile in your heart.
    Your pain is still pretty fresh and sounds like you and your sister were close. I am keeping you close to my heart…Love and hugs your way. ~Laurie

    • Laurie, thanks for your kind words of comfort and hope and for reminding me that all of these emotions are all part of the process. Sending hugs to you too.

  3. Reblogged this on iTEACH.


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