October is here and so is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It's been 11 years since my sister-in-law, Debbie, lost her life to breast cancer at the age of 33. At one point in her 3 1/2 year battle, she told us that she hoped she would not be forgotten. So today, once again, I am dedicating this post to "Auntie Debbie".
Debbie, with our daughters on the right and niece on the left.
The picture above was taken on December 24, 1999 which was to be Debbie's last Christmas. That night, she gathered her many nieces and nephews together and presented her "teen sex talk". While it may not be the topic of conversation at most Christmas Eve celebrations, no subject was off-limits to Debbie. You see, she was a teacher and coach, and although she did not have children of her own, she had hundreds of "children" she mentored each and every day.......in a most entertaining way.
Later that same night, Debbie shared with us a video her students helped create to be played at her funeral. The song you hear on my playlist (Landslide by Stevie Nicks) was one of the songs Debbie chose for the slideshow. When it was over, she turned to us and said, "Wasn't that great! Doesn't it just make you want to cry?" We sat there in silence trying to choke back our tears.
Debbie's funeral was held in the gymnasium of South St. Paul High School. On an unseasonably warm and sunny March day, we walked the mile-long road to the cemetery where she was buried overlooking her beloved school. When we reached the top of the hill, somebody said, "Turn around." We did, and what an amazing sight! A sea of friends followed behind to pay their last respects to Debbie.
Debbie will not be forgotten at South St. Paul High School which she endowed with a perpetual scholarship awarded each year to a female athlete. She will not be forgotten by her supportive friends who were there for her in her time of need. As for her family, we have videos to watch and pictures to look at, but mostly, we will remember her sweet smile and kind nature.
This month, The DIY Club is hosting an on-line auction to raise money for breast cancer awareness. I am donating a special Studio 911 sock monkey I created just for this occasion.
And that's not all. I'm also including a very limited edition signed copy of my "Five Little Monkeys" book.