A Sophisticate is Aware #BreastCancer #DomesticViolence

Me and My Aunt Maggie
“Look at everything always as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time: Thus is your time on earth filled with glory.”   Betty Smith from 'A Tree Grows in Brooklyn'

My Aunt Maggie was a victim of Domestic Violence and died of Breast Cancer.  There is no way to sugar coat those  two facts nor the fact that some women sometimes fall victim to both. For any woman to fall victim to either Domestic Violence or Breast Cancer is painful enough. 

My Aunt Maggie and my Great-Grandmother were the models or inspiration for Sophisticate in the Suburbs. Both taught me a great deal about courage and strength. 

“Be present in all things and thankful for all things.” Maya Angelou

My Aunt Maggie did it with her smile and laughter. She loved life and people. What I loved about her the most was that she loved to laugh and dance. Her laugh was the type of laugh that was contagious. Hearing her laugh made you or anyone laugh. She loved life.

She loved to dance. One time she decided she wanted to learn the moves to 'Thriller'. She enrolled me and my Aunt Angela. For hours, we practiced laughing, making mistakes, and learning the steps. Then the three of us performed in front of the family.

My mother was the jock, my Aunt Angela the fashionista, and my Aunt Maggie was the adventurer. At one point my Aunt Maggie moved to Arizona by herself with her dog Shadow. She moved there because she loved the outdoors. She went on hikes and rode a motorcycle. 

Her first and only marriage she was abused. Although I was young when it happened had a faint idea only because I had an experience with him where he made me feel uncomfortable. It wasn't until she left him and my mom took me to go see her in the hospital that I knew something was wrong. 

When I was 14 she sat me down and told me the whole story. What she spoke to me that day was intermingled with some of what I have written throughout my dating and relationships posts. She talked me like an adult, as a girlfriend, of all of her mistakes. She talked to me of all that she felt in her heart that she ignored. She made me aware of her mistakes hoping I would learn and make the right decisions. 

My Aunt Maggie gave the extra food she had to homeless people on the streets. She introduced me and recommended I support a child in Africa to help me deal with the pain of my Mom dying. My Aunt taught me how to give and love the living who were in need as way to heal whatever pain I was feeling. 

A few years later my Aunt developed Breast Cancer. She helped my mom through her illness, she worked three jobs to afford health care and take care of my Grandmother. Instead of giving up on my grandmother or mother, she gave up on the chemotherapy. Her cancer eventually progressed to Stage 4. Not only that, the nurse told her it was a type of Cancer that was toxic in nature.The rest of her journey would be painful. My Aunt comforted the nurse told her that was  absolutely no hope. My Aunt Maggie died pretty soon thereafter.

A Sophisticate knows that every woman has her own story and can fall victim to both.  A Sophisticate knows that a woman can die from Domestic Violence just as easily as she can die from Breast Cancer. Pain, illness, and violence does not discriminate yet it can differentiate. 

It is in the ability to differentiate that makes the difference. What vitamins can a Sophisticate take now or growing up that will help prevent cancer? What can a Sophisticate do in relationships to understand that emotional abuse is the same as physical abuse? What can a Sophisticate do to learn that emotional abuse can lead to physical abuse.  Or that  emotional abuse is just as harmful and wrong as physical abuse. 

A Sophisticate is strong and knowledgeable not because she helps to find a cure because the most important lesson I learned from my Aunt was that finding a cure is pointless without wisdom and education. She didn't tell me to fight against Domestic Violence she gave me the wisdom by telling me her mistakes and through knowledge.As with everything and especially with Domestic Violence understanding what makes a good relationship and what is love versus abuse is how to win the battle. 

When my mom was dying of Ovarian Cancer and my Aunt gave me the idea of helping a child in Africa who was less fortunate. When she was dying of Breast Cancer our last conversation was to  focus and remember love. She made me promos to focus on the love in my life from my Dad and if I decided to fall in love to expect nothing but pure love and care from someone in return. 

What I learned from my Aunt Maggie is that education, wisdom and providing support is the cure to pain, violence, and illness. In the end, a Sophisticate loves and is aware. ;D

Special note: Sophisticate in the Suburbs™ will be walking in the Making Strides  Against Breast Cancer Event in Washington, DC in honor of her Aunt Maggie on October 29, 2017. To help support, with a tax deductible donationSophisticate in the Suburbs™ Donation Page