I Knew Before She Told Us

I knew before she told us. I heard my dad talking on the phone one day, about someone who had breast cancer. He assured me, it isn’t mom. “Don’t worry, I would tell you if she did,” he said. Don’t worry. And later I found her mammography scans, or whatever they’re called. That didn’t seem right to me, but I convinced myself everything was all right. They would tell us. My dad said, “Don’t worry.” But anyway, we didn’t talk. They would claim we did, but we didn’t. When my mom told us, there was silence. I held my breath, and forgot to let go. My mom told us, and that was it. I felt like I was left alone to navigate my own way across an icy pond. So we held our breath, and didn’t say a word about it until the surgery. But I was thinking about it. I didn’t stop thinking about it. The surgery happened, and she came home. She stayed in bed for a while, and then it was over. We didn’t talk about it. It never happened. The Pink Portrait Project changed that slightly. We still didn’t talk about it (don’t be silly), but it was a form of acknowledgement. It allowed us to acknowledge it, and say yes, this terrible thing happened, but also, yes, we got through it. The photo shoot forced us to remember, and accept what happened, and for that I will be forever grateful.