As a new breast cancer survivor (June 2012), I am very in tune with all the efforts of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It reminds me of the first time that I realized that I had the strength to survive anything that was put in my way….
The Phoenix Rises…!
On a cold April night at about 3am, a mother and her 4 year old daughter were sleeping in their upstairs bedrooms. Their mixed breed dog Bobo awakened the mother from her sleep. The mother got up and realized that there was smoke in the house…the house was on fire. The mother went in the room of her daughter and awakened her and said “Come on baby, we have to get out of here, there is a fire.” The mother lead her daughter through the dark smoke filled room, to the window in her bedroom and opened it. “Wait here baby, I will be right back,” the mother told her daughter. As the little girl watched her mother disappear through the smoke filled room, she began to cough and turned to breathe the fresh air from the window. The little girl waited, what seemed liked forever, breathing the fresh air from the window, until she saw her mother walking through the smoke dragging the phone line. When her mother got to the window, she called 911 for the fire department. After about another 5 minutes, the room started to get hotter and blacker with smoke, the little girl started to cough even more and began to feel a hot sensation on her feet. She told her Mom, “Mommy, my feet are burning,” her mother picked her up and said to her, “Just a few more minutes baby, the firemen are on their way.” They both continued to cough and try to breathe the air from the open window. The little girl then heard the wail of the sirens of the fire truck. The next moment, the little girl felt someone grab her from her mother and the smoke filled room and she started feeling the sensation of going down. The fireman was taking her down a ladder. As they were descending the stairs, the little girl asked, “Where’s my Mommy?” The fireman informed her that her mother was descending the stairs as well. When the little girl and the fireman got to the ground, the little girl saw her mother coming down the ladder. As the little girl looked up to the house, she saw her dog, Bobo in the window. The little girl started crying and wailed to the fireman, “My dog!!” As the little girl watched the red and yellow flames of the fire creep up the floors of the house, she continued to cry and scream for her dog to jump. As the firemen tried to coax the dog out of the house, the dog backed into the house. As the fire consumed the house, the fireman told the mother, “We cannot go in there to find the dog, since he has backed into the fire.” The little girl cried as she was put into an ambulance.
At the hospital, the little girl was put on a gurney and in moments, a doctor came to check her vitals. The doctor told the little girl “You are a brave and lucky girl, your feet got just a little hot.” As the doctor continued his examination of the little girl, he stopped at her feet and told her that a nurse was going to come in and put some cream and gauze on her feet to make them feel better. When the nurse came in, the little girl felt a cold cream being applied to her feet and gauze wrapped around them. She was then taken into the hallway of the hospital, where her mother stood next to her gurney and held her hand. As they waited, the mother told the daughter “Baby, our house burned down, but we are alive…your Grandfather is on his way to come get us.” The little girl nodded her head and fell asleep.
The next day, the mother, the little girl and her Grandfather went over to the house. As they got out of the car, the Grandfather carried the little girl on his back, toward the burned down house. As they climbed through the rubble to find any items they could salvage, the little girl asked her Grandfather, “Can we find Bobo?” Her Grandfather replied, “We’ll see honey, we’ll see.” As they continued to look through the rubble, they all came upon a mound of clothes and a door that used to be a closet. As the Grandfather lifted some of the burnt clothes, they came upon the body of their dog Bobo. The body of Bobo was intact and it looked like he was sleeping. The little girl saw the body of her beloved dog and began to cry, her mother hugged her and said to her, “Bobo did the job that the Lord sent him here to do…he saved our lives and he is now in doggie heaven,” The little girl continued to cry, but thought to herself….her dog was brave by saving their lives and that she would always be brave in the face of any danger, just like her doggie. That was in 1978, that little girl was me and this is my first clear memory of my life…
My first brush with a traumatic experience happened when I was 4 years old. Even at that young age, I learned how to handle myself in the face of danger and to deal with loss. Not knowing then, those lessons that I learned would continue to help me throughout the rest of my life, a phoenix was born…..
Most people have experienced something, possibly traumatic, whether they were very young or older, that taught them how to face adversity and have strength. We sometimes forget these lessons, but we all need to remember that we ALL have strength inside us to deal with whatever is put in front of us. Know that you ARE strong!
Please consider supporting Breast Cancer Awareness by purchasing one or more of the Avon items below as 100% of all net profits will be donated to the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade. Or you may visit my Avon site directly at http://www.youravon.com/nrivers