When I first lost my aunt to cancer, broken words were all I had. Thoughts I could not process, emotions I couldn’t control and all I was left with was a broken heart. Death is a part of life, I understand. But it does not mean it will ever be easy to accept.
I remember the last visit I had with my aunt. She was sick then but nobody knew what was wrong. There were many questions but no answers. The worst part of it all, was that I could not help her. I could not take away her pain. I could not have stopped the disease. If I could, I would not have let it take away every ounce of her being. I would have done everything in my power to make it go away, to make it stop. But there was no such power. I knew I couldn’t win every battle. But if I could, I would have fought it for her.
The reason I relay is to fight for her the only way I can. I do it because I wish for people not to forget about the things that go unnoticed. I wish for people to have more time, so they can enjoy a warm cup of coffee on the porch on an early morning, see the leaves changing colour or feel the crisp cold air. I wish I could have given that to my aunt. Now I am left thinking of the stories I missed out on her telling me, the questions I never got to ask her, the Christmas cards I will never be able to send again. All of this, I can never get back.
She has inspired me to be more. I hope that I do all that I can and become all that I was created to be. I hope I make her proud. Relay For Life is an amazing day where I get to reflect on what brought me here. I understand that life is too short to be angry at what we cannot change, greedy for things we do not need and sad for what will never be.
All I can do now is make her proud and hope one day this disease will be powerless against anyone it comes across.
Ivana Topic is a volunteer with Canadian Cancer Society and regular Observer columnist.