Today, I wear my "I hate cancer." shirt because ten years ago I joined a club that I didn't sign up for. Ten years ago my Dad died from melanoma.
Today, I will be brave. I will walk out of my apartment wearing a shirt that beacons strangers to walk by me & make it known that they too are in this shitty club.
Today, I will get walk-by comments. I sometimes forget that I am wearing this shirt in public. A stranger will walk-by and say, "I do too!" I will be confused for a moment. Then, when I realize that they were just acknowledging to me that they belong to this club, I will feel sadness that I wasn't able to give them any sort of comfort, while also feeling a burst of resiliency knowing how strong our community feels.
Today, I will most likely cry openly with strangers. When I wear this shirt in public, strangers will tell me of their loved ones who suffered from cancer. We will cry in the grocery store. We will hug.
Today, I will remember that my bonus sister, Danielle, painstakingly made shirt, upon shirt for our whole clan of support system (& beyond) that say these passionate words. She & Rhonda even made a special trip with me to Target (while Joe McIntyre was there, we think) to make even more shirts because the weather on the day of the NKOTB concert was much warmer than expected. Our long-sleeved "I hate cancer." shirts were way too warm. But we NEEDED to wear them. We NEEDED to show Danny Wood that we had entered into the club that he had joined many years before. Danielle & Rhonda understood the emotional importance of making these shirts that day. They powered through as I curled into a ball on the bed & cried for the fact that we had to be in this club in the first place. Our shirts justified our grief to the other NKOTB fans as we sobbed in the middle of a pop concert.
Today, I will wear my "I hate cancer." shirt.