A few weeks ago a very special memorial scarf arrived at a local hub for arts and crafts in my town. Tamarack, the Best of West Virginia, is hosting the Breast Cancer Awareness Scarf, the world's longest pink scarf, for the month of October. I saw it last year and just marveled at how awesome it was in it's sheer size; then I thought about all the hands that went into making it quickly followed by thoughts (and some tears) for those that this very special scarf is made for. There are albums filled with cards expressing the thoughts and prayers of survivors of breast cancer, family and friends of those that have passed and well-wishers that have a special place in their hearts for Breast Cancer Awareness.
The scarf itself is a marvel in it's own right. If I was amazed by it's size last year, all I can say is I was awe-struck this time around. It grows every year as people are invited to bring sections to be added and even sit and make a section while you're visiting the Tamarack. It arrives in trucks and many, many, many large boxes. I can only guess at the number of man hours it takes to hang such a work of art, much less the additional number of hours it takes to roll it up and repack it for the next stop on it's tour. I can tell you this much, I wouldn't want to wash it.
The colors vary from light bubblegum pink to shades of lilac and hot, neon pink. I'm sure every inch is a reflection of the personality of each individual the scarf represents. Some of them are demure and soft, I imagine them smiling and laughing with families around the holidays. Others are strong willed and outspoken, never backing down from a fight. These are the ones I imagine standing before a camera filming commercials for awareness, proud of the reflection that Hollywood lights make against their bald heads. Chin up and backbone strong.
Pink is usually a cheerful color, a color for girls newly born and sleeping in nurseries full of frills and butterflies. It's the color of a flushed bride-to-be as she walks down the aisle to her waiting suitor. It's the color of the shock of cold as winter approaches, as snowflakes tingle against our cheeks, and as we cuddle with a loved one next to a fireplace. Pink is warm and comforting. It's the color that represents tenderness, kindness, empathy and most of all, Hope.
Walking around the Tamarack and looking at the draping and winding of this fantastic symbol of hope, I am reminded of my grandmother, Lilly Katherine White Cook. A woman who finished the 4th grade and then couldn't go to school any more because her father died and she had to stay home to help with her younger siblings. She grew up in a rural West Virginia town in Logan County and she loved her family. But she didn't put up with any nonsense either. She was thoughtful, kind, giving and loved others unconditionally. She's been gone for 17 years and I still miss her so.
Say a prayer, have a moment of silence, do something today to remember those fighting, those that have won and those that have lost. We, who are left behind, carry their memories forward and it's our responsibility to make sure they are not forgotten.
Peace and blessings,