In October We Wear Pink

1017-05My beloved grandmother was a breast cancer survivor.
She must have been diagnosed when I was around four years old and before my father remarried a year later. So there were just the three of us living in my grandmother’s home.

No one had explained to me, why did my grandma have to go away and leave us. I remember very well that my father would get me to draw on different cards, then he could take them to see Grandma in the hospital.
One day my beloved Nana came home. I remember that day my father and I waited at our front door and saw her appear at the top of the road as she walked home.
A few years later, when I was a little bit older, my Nana started talking about her operation if the subject was brought up by family members, but she always told me that it was not cancer, that what they had removed was a non-threatening fibre lump in her breast. In fact, she had told all her grandchildren the same story, and we all believed her.

During all these years, I only saw her scar properly once.
One afternoon during the school holidays, one of my grandmother’s colleagues; another primary school teacher dropped by and she insisted to check out my grandmother’s scar. I had a quick glimpse from walking pass her bedroom door when the two of them were talking and seeing my grandma showing her the scar.
Later on that day, when our visitor was gone, my Nana asked me if I wanted to see her scar. I nodded.
What shocked me was seeing her whole left breast had been completely removed and what had remained was a long; flat and very un-flattering scar.
This experience, at the age of eleven, had saddened and unsettled me. I guess I realized that I couldn’t prevent my loved ones from suffering, no matter how much I love this person.

Time went by, my beloved Nana passed away of natural causes at the age of eighty-nine.
Several years after her funeral, I went back to Taiwan to visit my relatives and during a conversation with my aunt, she confirmed to me that what my grandmother had was breast cancer, not a fibre lump: “She had the operation and chemotherapy, everything…”
Suddenly, I burst into tears. Knowing that she had chosen to protect me from fear of cancer and fear of loosing her… She kept everything in for all these years…

October is the Breast Cancer Awareness Month, marked in countries across the world. I want to dedicate this story to all those who have fought and continue to fight Breast Cancer.

Photography by: Road Wang

46 comments

  1. Not only was your grandmother very strong, she was also selfless and kind to try to protect you like that. Beautiful story. Brought tears to my eyes. Thanks for sharing…

    Happy October, V! ❀

    1. And yeah, very beautiful image!! You are such a natural at photos.

    2. I’m very glad to read your comment Cara. Yes she was selfless and also very strong. When I wrote about her walking back home on her own from the hospital; now looking back, I just realized how incredibly strong she was!!
      Thank you for letting me know that you were touched by my story, it means a lot to me! And thank you for your compliments on my photo! X X

  2. Love that color! 😍

    1. Ditto! πŸ˜‰

  3. A touching story of love and family beautifully told. Thank you Vivienne.

    1. I’m pleased to hear that Kent. X

  4. Once again, you touch the heart and soul of the matter, with grace, and beauty!

    1. Thank you for your kind words Moira. X

  5. Wow – such an inspirational and touching post! Thank you so much for sharing and reminding every one of us that we should be thankful for our health. And the photo of you is beautiful, too! πŸ™‚
    xoxo Laura

    http://xoxolaurabelle.wordpress.com

    1. Thank you for your wonderful feedback Laura. I also hope this post would encourage more women to do a regular breast self-exam. X X

  6. Reblogged this on Michael's Origins and commented:
    This is a very moving write up of Breast Cancer which one of my cousins is going through now. Very well worth the read!

    1. Thank you so much for the reblog Michael.
      To see our loved ones suffering from cancer and/or taken by cancer is heartbroken. I’m hoping that by sending out this message, it helps spread awareness. Early detection saves lives. X

  7. ecritvalecritval · · Reply

    mioddio ! Aiuto ! ❀

  8. What a touching story. Your grandma must have been such a strong woman and I’m happy to hear that she beat cancer. In October, I’ll also wear pink. πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you for your lovely feedback Mitzie. I’m happy to hear that you wear pink in the Breast Cancer Awareness Month! πŸ™‚

  9. Thank you for sharing this story. It really brings awareness of breast cancer and all the brave survivors!

    1. I’m so glad to hear that Katie. That – brings awareness of breast cancer – is exactly the message I want to send out through this blog post! X

  10. Gregory McBean · · Reply

    A very affecting story Vivienne…thank you.

    1. Thank you for reading it Greg.

  11. Dear Viv,
    I was firstly been attracted by the beautiful image and later on feel deeply moved by the story between you and your grandma. We never know how lucky we are to be able to survive until today and how lucky we are to be able to miss those possible accidents we would never know until told. I heard a lot between you and your grandma before and know how much you loves each other. She has really tried her best to create a happier environment for you to grow and may her always rest in peace in the heaven.

    1. Thank you for your kind and wonderful comment April.
      Few years ago when I was in Taipei for a visit, my friend Liling and I met for a catch up dinner. Knowing that I’m from a broken family, she commented: “Do you know that some people who has parents but have not received love by them??” Right there, her point of view opened my mind and I realized just how blessed I am to have my grandmother in my life!!
      To be protected and loved is a blessing, from receiving it, we learn how to love…

  12. You wrote about two beautiful women here! Your grandmother who loved you so much that she tried to protect you from anything that might hurt you. And you, who loved her so much that you would do anything to save her.
    Remember 89 years is nothing to scoff at! Even for people without cancer, that’s a good, long life. I bet she stuck around so long JUST FOR YOU!
    Peace,
    Sherrie
    Sherrie Miranda’s husband made a video for her novel. He wrote the song too:

    1. Dear Sherrie, first of all; thank you for your beautiful comment. Yes, I think that my beloved grandmother stuck around so long JUST FOR ME (happy tears)!!
      I went to read your short biography, it confirmed to me that you are a person with great compassion. When you said: “I also hope to assist seniors and troubled teens to write their life stories in order to heal…” I’m totally agreed with that through writing our stories; it helps us to heal and to tell the truth it is one of the reasons I started my blog.

      Thank you for sharing this moving video your husband has created for you. Not only does it help me to get an idea what your novel is about; your courage and kindness shine through these images and I’m deeply touched by it all… Great music too!
      I believe that we are in this world for a reason/reasons. There are lessons to be learnt. When we found our purpose, we don’t feel lost any more…

  13. Sounds like your Grandma was a cool and strong lady, love your dress too! πŸ™‚

    1. Yes she was, Lauren. Lovely to hear from you! :-*

  14. Hey, there’s no “Like” button here. Viv, I loved reading your response to my response. It’s funny how we find souls that mirror our own. I was just writing about that on a site that deals with healing.
    My hubby is my soul mate and best friend. When he wrote that song for my novel, I just had to find a way to share it.
    Peace & blessings to you!
    Sherrie

    1. Sherrie, I’m very glad that you found someone who deserve you and your love. People like you who want to help and save others often forget about self.., I’m pleased to hear that you have your soul mate besides you.
      Thank you again for sharing that video and give me a chance to get to know you.
      Blessings to you! X X

  15. Hi Vivienne! I am impressed with your story. My mom and my grandmother were victims of breast cancer when I was a child. Thanks for sharing it!
    Mis perlas de moda
    So Natural – So Me

    1. Thank you for your comment Agne. It’s heartbreaking to see our loved ones suffering. Breast Cancer (and all cancer) is a terrible disease, therefore we need to keep fighting.

  16. Thanks for sharing, this is such a touching story. Your Grandma was so brave, you were so lucky to have her, loving your poise in the photo, so beautiful!

    1. Thank you Keishaw. Yes my beloved grandmother was amazing! I’m touched by your lovely feedback too! X

      1. You’re welcome dear, you always have such a good read!

  17. This story is moving! I too have experienced a similar situation . You are strong and beautiful in pink!

    1. Thank you Krystel. I’m pleased to hear it from you! X

  18. My mom also had it nine years ago. I think your grandma, my mother and all the women fighting against breast cancers are brave warriors whose strength always pushes all around them. xo

    1. Yes they are brave warriors Sara. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. X X

  19. Thank you for sharing your story. I loved reading about your grandmother.

    1. Thank you for your sweet comment. I have so many more stories about her to tell… X

  20. I was very impressed by your story. Thank you for sharing it with us! And also for the positive message!

    1. Thank you for your feedback Mihaela. We can’t turn back time, fortunately these loving memories of my beloved grandmother stay with me always… X

  21. thestyleintervention · · Reply

    It was lovely to read this post about such a selfless, strong woman, but to also mark how much support this cause still needs. I too lost my grandmother to breast cancer, and my mum carries the gene, so it really hits home how difficult the struggle is still. Xxxxx

    1. I’m glad to hear this feedback from you Chelsea. We know the struggle and the pain, therefore we need to do what we can to raise funds and/or awareness. Thank you for your support! X X X

  22. Thank you, Viv, for telling your story through a very lovely picture. Your Nana soldiered on in life and became a warrior, and you are sharing her legacy. Bravo to you both.
    xx M

    1. Thank you Margie. Yes my beloved Nana was a warrior and she was my heroine. X

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